Farm Bill compromise reached

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

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After more than two years of negotiations and compromises from both Democrats and Republicans, President Barack Obama, on Feb. 7, signed into law the Agriculture Act of 2014, an agriculture spending bill better known as the farm bill.

 

The bill will be in effect for five years. The previous farm bill was passed in 2008 and expired in 2012.

 

The 1,000-plus page package has 12 chapters which include commodities, crop insurance, conservation, forestry and miscellaneous.

 

The bill expands federal crop insurance and ends direct government payments to farmers. When landowners were given direct payments, they received a fixed amount per acre, no matter what commodity prices were, and sometimes even if they had not planted.  With the 2014 farm bill, farmers will be able to choose one of two subsidy programs and will have to prove they have had losses to get subsidies.

 

South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska cattle producers who lost cattle in the October 2013 Atlas blizzard and farmers affected by the drought in 2012 will be eligible for retroactive benefits to help cover their losses.

 

The farm bill has earmarked $56 billion for conservation programs across the nation. One incentive in our area is the “Sodsaver Measure.” This measure will eliminate subsidies for four years to farmers who plow previously unplowed native prairie.

 

Donna Palmlund

Staff Writer

The De Smet News

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