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La. Farm Bureau/Radio Network‏

January 30, 2014

Farm Bill Passes The House

The House of Representatives gave quick passage Wednesday to the 2014 farm bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014. The bill passed the lower chamber with a 251-166 vote.

Among specific provisions, the bill:

  • Eliminates controversial direct payments while maintaining decoupled farm support programs that will minimize the possibility of planting and production distortions that could trigger new World Trade Organization challenges.
     
  • Allows farmer to either maintain existing crop acreage base or to reallocate their current base to reflect average acres planted to covered commodities in 2009-2012, a reform that will make programs more relevant and more defensible while not tying them to current-year plantings.
     
  • Consolidates 23 previous conservation programs into 13, and focuses conservation efforts on working lands. It also ties conservation compliance for wetlands and highly erodible land to premium support for crop insurance.
     
  • Maintains authorizations for important agricultural research programs, including AFRI, as well as including a new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research that will provide a structure and mandatory funding for new public/private partnerships and investments that will further USDA's research mission.
     
  • Maintains authorizations and funding levels for export promotion, including the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program and the Market Access Program (MAP).

Continues the combined authorization of both agricultural and nutrition programs, a linkage that has been essential in enacting every farm bill since 1974.


Bob Stallman On Farm Bill Passage

"The American Farm Bureau Federation commends the House for its passage of the new five-year farm bill today. It's been a tough road for the legislation during the past two years, but we are pleased with the clear bipartisan vote that prevailed. We appreciate the conferees' diligent work in making some tough decisions to put forth a solid bill and in getting it to this crucial point.

"We now turn our attention to the Senatefor timely passage of the bill, which will provide farmers and ranchers certainty for the coming year and allow the Agriculture Department to begin planning for implementation of the bill's provisions.

"Farm Bureau is optimistic the final 2014 farm bill will soon be ready for the president's signature, and America's farmers and ranchers can, with certainty, continue with their business of providing food and jobs for America."


National Cotton Council Reaction

The National Cotton Council (NCC) commended the House of Representatives for their strong bi-partisan approval of The Agricultural Act of 2014.

NCC Chairman Jimmy Dodson reiterated appreciation for the bill's authorization of a new crop insurance product tailored to cotton that represents an important step to achieving a final resolution of the long-standing Brazil WTO case.

"We want to thank House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson for their perseverance in getting this fiscally-responsible, comprehensive five-year farm legislation to the next step," the South Texas cotton producer said. "Our hope is that the Senate will move swiftly in passing this important measure and that the President will sign it. That will provide our nation's farmers with a solid risk management mechanism so they can continue producing safe, abundant, and affordable food and fiber."

Dodson emphasized again that "a viable production agriculture sector is critical to our national security and our economy and this legislation is essential to production agriculture's stability."


National FFA Organization, National FFA Foundation consolidate leadership

The National FFA Organization Board of Directors and National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees have approved a new consolidated management structure that unifies both organizations' executive management through a joint governance committee of the two boards, a common chief executive officer and a common chief financial officer.
The plan, approved unanimously by both boards and the 2013-14 National FFA Officer team, includes implementation of an integrated management team to increase collaboration and communication across both boards.

The joint governance committee will consist of members of both boards and work with the common CEO.
The boards approved immediate appointment of Dr. W. Dwight Armstrong as the common CEO. Armstrong currently serves as CEO for the National FFA Organization and is former chairman of the National FFA Foundation Sponsors' Board, which supports fundraising campaigns for the foundation.

The common CFO will be responsible for each organization's financial standing and performance and will present information and recommendations directly to the boards. Coordinated financial reporting will enhance transparency and help each board execute its fiduciary responsibilities. The committee will work with Armstrong to fill the CFO position.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Foundation is the fundraising arm of the National FFA Organization.


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