WASHINGTON, D.C., July 11, 2013 — Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2642, the “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013” (known as FARRM or the House 2013 Farm Bill), in a 216-208 vote. The House version of the bill eliminates the $5 billion a year in direct payments and correctly places more of an emphasis on the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) as the primary mechanism to protect America’s farmland.
“The Big ’I’ is pleased to see that the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) serves as the primary risk management tool in FARRM,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external and government affairs. “Independent agents continue to play an integral role in the success of the crop program and serve as trusted advisors to farmers seeking protection for their farmland.”
In a break from traditional farm policy, the House bill only addresses the agriculture aspects of the Farm Bill and strips a reauthorization of the food stamp program that has been included in previous Farm Bills. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will now be addressed in a separate reauthorization bill.
“The Big ’I’ was particularly pleased to see that an amendment offered by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) which was defeated in debate last month was not included in H.R. 2642 considered today,” says Jen McPhillips, Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs. “The amendment would have sharply reduced the availability and affordability of crop insurance and it would have undermined private sector delivery of this important risk management tool.”
The House and Senate will now conference their versions of the bill. The current Farm Bill is operating under an extension that is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2013.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com
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