The recently passed Farm Bill is 950-pages. Who has time to read that? We have the main points for you.
1. Direct payments to farmers were cut, and crop insurance bolstered.
Gone are the direct payments made to farmers, given regardless of need (or even if the farmer is farming). The new bill makes crop insurance cheaper, and installs a revenue-based subsidy program meant to mitigate the impact cut of four other subsidy programs. Now, the government is paying about $9 billion for sixty-two percent of farmers’ crop insurance premiums.
2. Subsidies are no longer given to “wealthier” farmers.
Farmers with adjusted gross incomes of more than $750,000 no longer receive subsidies. Still, many worry about of the lack of transparency. “The public will have no way of discovering where this money flows,” said CNN.
3. Livestock indemnity program was strengthened, and is retroactive.
The government will provide 75 percent of livestock loss, or up to $125,000, to farmers facing damages from inclement weather. It’s retroactive for damages of 2013.
4. Meat must be labeled.
The Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL, requires sellers to disclose meat’s origin. Many like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association loudly opposed COOL because they worry about the economic outcome and affect on trading. The bill states that the USDA must analyze the economic results that come of the new requirement in six months.
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5. Dairy farmers are provided better insurance coverage.
In recent years, farmers have struggled with plummeting milk prices. Now, insurance kicks in when the difference between the revenue farmers receive for milk and the cost of feed narrows. (Or really, when the USDA deems they should be provided subsidy.)
6. Food stamps were cut by $800 million.
Much to the Senate’s chagrin, 800 million dollars a year—or $90 a day—was cut from the food stamps program. That’s a total of $23 billion. Still, 80 percent of the bill’s 5-year 500 billion dollar cost goes to food stamps.
FEATURED PHOTO: Kristina Savic/Flickr