Congressman Chris Collins Votes in Support of Bipartisan Farm Bill
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) voted in support of the bipartisan Farm Bill this morning. The five-year comprehensive legislation easily passed the House of Representatives with large support from both Republicans and Democrats.
A member of the House Agriculture Committee, Congressman Collins admits the bill is not perfect, but says it includes real reforms and spending reductions, while removing regulatory barriers for farmers and strengthening America’s safety net. In total, the bill saves $23 billion in mandatory federal spending.
“The bipartisan Farm Bill provides our farmers and producers the certainty they deserve,” said Congressman Collins. “The bill saves taxpayers billions of dollars, includes historic reform for our dairy policy by repealing outdated programs, and strengthens crop insurance and other protection programs our farmers need. And despite the rhetoric, the Farm Bill does not take away Food Stamps from those who are truly eligible. Instead, it protects Food Stamp funding by closing loopholes to stop ongoing fraud and abuse. This is not a perfect bill, but it is a bipartisan compromise that addresses many of the critical issues facing our farmers in NY-27 and around the country.”
Specialty Crop Research
Congressman Collins fought for and achieved a significant increase for specialty crop research (boost of more than $200 million between 2012 proposal and today’s bill). The funding finances partnerships between our land-grant universities and farmers to help growers meet new marketplace demands and cultivate new products. This funding is especially essential for the continued growth of New York’s fruit farmers.
The Farm Bill includes historic reforms to dairy policy, something the industry has long championed. The controversial Supply Management program has been eliminated and replaced with a new and voluntarily Margin Protection program which provides our dairy farmers with the safeguards they need without imposing government mandated controls. Both milk producers and processors have endorsed this new program and its flexibility will help NY-27’s booming dairy industry continue to grow.
The Farm Bill repeals direct payments to farmers and strengthens crop insurance and other risk management tools to protect both taxpayers and farmers when they suffer significant losses.
Beginning Farmer Support
To ensure young people choose agriculture as a career, the Farm Bill supports Beginning Farm Development programs. The bill will provide new farmers with discounted insurance and credit opportunities to help establish their business. With a large segment of America’s farmers and ranchers at or nearing retirement age, the Farm Bill helps encourage young people to enter this challenging and vitally important line of work which is essential to feeding our country and economy.
SNAP (Food Stamp) Reform
The Farm Bill makes the first reforms to SNAP since the bipartisan Welfare reforms of 1996. The bill closes a loophole that automatically enrolled people for Food Stamps when they receive heating assistance from their state government, regardless of their income level. The bill also cracks down on fraud and abuse (illegal immigrants and lotto winners receiving food stamps) and demands outcomes from existing employment training programs.
The New York Farm Bureau and other agricultural advocacy organizations firmly support the bill. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure later this week.