U.S. Senate Approves 2012 Farm Bill

Washington, DC (June 10, 2013) -This week, the Senate voted 66 to 27 to approve a massive Farm Bill that will set the course of U.S. food policy for the next half-decade. The 2008 Farm Bill expired last year, and its replacement is 1,150 pages long, and will cost $955 billion over 10 years. The House version is slated to cost $940 billion. What’s in the 2012 Farm Bill? Lots, but critical to ACTrees members and program partner organizations, the Farm Bill provides funding for conservation programs that affect land, water and soil use, and support for forestry programs managed by the USDA/Forest Service.

What’s in the Farm Bill? The term “farm bill” is a bit misleading. In 2002, it was the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, and in 2008, it was known as the Food, Conservation and Energy Act. This latest Farm Bill is the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012.

Nearly 80% of the Bill targets food stamps and nutrition and is unrelated to farms or farming. About $60 billion of the Farm Bill costs, however, are directed to conservation and other miscellaneous programs, many of which provide funding for programs that affect forestry and urban forestry programs.

What’s next? The House goes to work in Committee and hopes to get a bill to the floor for a vote. The Farm Bill is currently operating under 2011 budget, with reductions subject to the sequestration rulings, and is the source of funding for state and city foresters nationwide. Funding moves from the Federal government to state and cities, and eventually to benefit ACTrees member and program partner organizations.

Conversations with Members of Congress staff leadership offer no insight on the timing of the House deliberations. But most organizations watching this issue closely agree that if passed, the 2012 Farm Bill will be one of the few 2013 to-date deliverables of our Congress.

Watch ACTrees Member Monthly for regular updates and click-through to Wonkblog for today’s Farm Bill details.

Related Resources
ACTrees Advocacy 2013 Advocacy Agenda
Senate Passes Farm Bill; House Vote is Less Sure  (The New York Times)