Washington, D.C. (KELO AM) – Rep. Kristi Noem today made the following statement regarding passage of H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (Farm Bill):
“This process hasn’t been easy and we still have a long way to go to get a Farm Bill signed into law. I remain committed to the end game, which is to ensure we have sound policy that provides a safety net and certainty for our agriculture community. Splitting the Farm Bill is not ideal and certainly wasn’t the path I would have chosen, but at the end of the day, we need to get a Farm Bill into Conference with the Senate.
“I was proud of the bipartisan bill we passed out of the Agriculture Committee. It’s unfortunate that many members were unable to put people before politics and pass that bill when we had the opportunity last month. Now it’s time to move forward and continue working to complete a five-year bill.”
Today’s vote was 216-208, with Noem voting in favor of the bill. The bill is identical to the previous farm bill brought to the House floor, excluding the nutrition title which will be considered at a later date.
Rep. Noem championed four main provisions in the House version of the Farm Bill, all of which were included in some form in the final version approved by the House. They include:
• Livestock Disaster Protection Act: Would extend the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill for the life of the Farm Bill, as well as retroactive coverage for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
• Protect Our Prairies Act: Would encourage good land stewardship practices and preserve habitats for pheasants, ducks and other wildlife on native sod and on grasslands that haven’t been farmed in the past, while estimated to save taxpayers nearly $200 million over 10 years.
• National Forest Emergency Response Act: Would streamline processes to get boots on the ground faster for pine beetle mitigation efforts. Calls for the federal government to grant categorical exclusions up to 10,000 acres.
• USDA Office of Tribal Relations: Would permanently establish an Office of Tribal Relations within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help improve communication between USDA and Tribal nations. This provision would not cost taxpayers any additional dollars and instead requires USDA to use existing resources to establish the office.