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National Grange optimistic about Farm Bill progress

By National Grange Press Release (6/22/12)

  JUNE 23, 2012 --

The National Grange, America’s oldest advocacy organization for agriculture, said Friday it is optimistic about the progress on the 2012 Farm Bill after the Senate version passed 64-35 Thursday.

The bill, officially known as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, includes savings of $23.6 billion from current Farm Bill spending levels, including $4.5 billion from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, mainly food stamps. Nutrition savings come primarily from program changes itself and includes provisions such as restrictions on lottery winners receiving food assistance.

“We are happy to see that our nation’s farmers and ranchers were not the only ones the U.S. Senate felt should tighten their belts in these tough economic times,” National Grange President Ed Luttrell said, noting nutrition assistance funds constituted more than three quarters of all USDA budget authority and spending in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Luttrell said the Senate’s Farm Bill also creates a better safety net for dairy farmers in the form of the Dairy Production Margin Protection Program.

“We hope the Dairy Production Margin Protection Program is included in the House version of the 2012 Farm Bill so that dairy farmers are better able to sustain their operations,” Luttrell said.

“The National Grange is happy to see progress in assuring that American agriculture receives the lifeline programs it requires, and lauds the Senate’s bipartisan approach to this bill,” Luttrell said. “We hope the House now focuses on the issue and takes seriously the needs of the farmers and ranchers who rely heavily on programs made available by the Farm Bill to provide Americans with abundant, safe, fresh, healthy and domestically produced food, fiber and biofuel products.”

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