Washington, D.C. - House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas) said Friday's approval 291 to 120 of the "Farm Security Act of 2001" by the U.S. House of Representatives sends a strong message of timely change coming to bring predictability in farm policy.
"Today, we are exactly at the point where I wanted to be two years ago, when I set out to make needed permanent improvements to our farm policy," said Ag Chairman Combest. "It is the product of more than 2 years of earnest, and bipartisan work by the House Agriculture Committee. It is a balanced approach that recognizes the very real economic and societal problems that are pressing rural America, and employs market-oriented and proactive policies to fix them. It makes unprecedented investments in conservation programs that will improve the land for generations to come; in rural development programs to foster economic growth in small communities across the country; in trade promotion programs to expand markets for U.S. products; and in research to promote more efficient agricultural systems and more wholesome and nutritious foods. The bill also makes important and significant changes to improve the administration of our food assistance programs and to help ensure that no American goes hungry."
"This legislation addresses a variety of important problems affecting not only rural America but the country at large in a balanced and effective manner," said Charlie Stenholm, the Committee's Ranking Member. "A former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, now a Senator, has said 'the Senate has objectives, the Administration has principles, and the House has a farm bill!' I am hopeful this is only a temporary condition and that this action by the House will be used as momentum to move forward expeditiously, to complete a farm bill and enact it into law in order to address the needs of our agricultural economy and rural America."
By allowing producers the voluntary choice to update their base acres, and adding counter-cyclical support based on target prices to the already-established 2002 level of transition payments, "The Farm Security Act of 2001" H.R. 2646, provides both the flexibility and predictability that most producers, commodity and farm groups have called for in the next farm bill. Enlarging participation for soil and water conservation programs by nearly 80 percent above current budget trends, the Farm Security Act provides producers with more options to implement progressive conserving practices on their land, with the backing of increased technical assistance to producers using any government or private contractors.