WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2014—President Barack Obama signed the 2014 farm bill today on the campus of Michigan State University. After more than two years of dedicated work toward passage, farmers and ranchers from across the nation now have answers about how they can manage the many and varied risks they face in producing food and fiber, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.
“It’s been a bumpy road for the farm bill over the past several years, with many twists and turns, but farmers never gave up nor lost momentum in working toward its passage,” Stallman said. “Farm Bureau believes this farm bill will give farmers and ranchers a measure of business certainty for this and coming years, allowing them to better manage risk while carrying out the important business of providing food and jobs for America.”
Stallman credited congressional Agriculture Committee leaders, House Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), House Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Senate Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Senate Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), for their leadership, perseverance and cooperation during what was a long, difficult and politically charged farm bill cycle.
Including the cuts already made through sequestration, the Farm Bill will save $23 billion over the next 10 years. It will enhance rural economies with additional jobs, invest in research and education and include reform that works for farm and ranch families. Importantly, the bill also provides disaster provisions for livestock producers and fruit and vegetable growers.
One such farmer is Michigan cherry, apple and plum grower Ben LaCross, from Leelanau County, Mich. LaCross, a former chair of the AFBF Young Farmer and Rancher Committee and current member of the Michigan Farm Bureau board of directors, said that under previous farm bills, his cherry crop was not eligible for crop insurance.
“This bill strengthens crop insurance so farmers like me will have the tools we need to survive a weather disaster,” LaCross said prior to introducing President Obama for the signing ceremony in Michigan.
Now signed into law, the 2014 law will allow the Agriculture Department to begin planning for implementation of the bill’s provisions.