The U.S. House Agriculture Committee has passed its version of the Farm Bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act or FARRM Act. But even though he says good things are in the bill, Indiana 3rd District Congressman Marlin Stutzman, a member of the committee, voted against it. He told HAT Friday morning FARRM Act doesn’t go far enough in cutting back the food stamp program.
“We do need to make reforms and reductions in the food stamp program because it is so large and the growth is only continuing to go up. The cuts in the bill are only cuts to the proposed increases, which are mandatory. So the cuts are very, very minimal and I just think that it is unfair to the farm and ranch community that’s been working so hard to make things different in the Farm Bill, but the same thing is not happening on the other side of the bill which is the most expensive part of the bill.”
Both the national corn and soybean organizations were pleased with House progress but they expressed concern about the risk management approach in the bill. Stutzman understands and expects much more discussion on that issue.
“There’s a lot of unevenness in target prices. The southern crops are treated much, much better than Midwestern crops. And I think that if we want to move to free markets and competitive markets, we can’t be treating one crop better than the other. So that’s still a concern for some of us and we’re going to continue to work on it. This is definitely the first step in the House. It’s a big step but it’s something that we’re going to continue to work on.”
He said the path forward for a new Farm Bill is very uncertain at this point.
“We’re going to come into a situation where the ’08 Farm Bill expires on September 30th, and I’m not interested in voting for an extension of the current farm policy because I would like to see us make these modifications and these reforms that are really needed and to also give the ag economy certainty.”[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/07/Stutzman-votes-no-in-House-ag-committee.mp3|titles=Stutzman votes no in House ag committee]
Listen for the complete HAT interview with Rep. Marlin Stutzman:[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/07/Rep-Stutzman-Farm-Bill-July-13-update.mp3|titles=Rep Stutzman Farm Bill July 13 update]