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Strain Lauds Congress for Final Passage of Farm Bill

February 4, 2014

“For more than a year, we have struggled to gain stability for the nation’s farmers while a long-term Farm bill was in limbo. I am happy to hear our congressional leaders have finally resolved their differences and voted in favor of a five-year Farm Bill. It was certainly overdue.
“The agriculture, forestry and aquaculture industries are the largest sector of our state’s economy comprising of more than 85percent of the surface area of this state. Valued at about $11.4 billion, these industries combined make up one of Louisiana’s largest and most economically dependent industries. With more than $140 billion in exports last year, agriculture continues to improve our balance of trade through trade promotion programs and opening new products for American goods. This in turn promotes rural development and creates needed jobs here at home.
“The legislation is an extremely important piece of legislation for the U.S. farmer and rancher as it sets the course for the largest industry in Louisiana and America. The Farm Bill promotes an economically healthy U.S. agricultural sector that is in and of itself one of the foundations of our economy.
“The five-year Farm Bill will now provide much needed certainty for agricultural producers, allowing them to plan and make business decisions as they continue to produce a safe and abundant supply of food, fiber, and fuel. Their ability to do so is vital to our national security and economy. Of course, the risk of not having a  five-year Farm Bill makes it more difficult for producers to secure financing for planting next year’s crop, leaves livestock producers in drought-stricken regions of the country without important disaster assistance, and important export promotion programs are frozen.
“The new Farm Bill provides mechanisms for much needed market protection, natural resource conservation and disaster assistance programs. If managed properly, agriculture, forestry, and aquaculture are infinitely renewable and sustainable. This bill will provide farmers and ranchers certainty for the coming year and allow the United States Department of Agriculture and its related agencies to begin planning for its implementation.
“The United States leads, feeds, clothes, and provides fiber for its people and much of the world. This is the greatest challenge of our generation. We must ensure America’s agricultural economy remains strong.”
President Barack Obama is expected to give final approval of the Farm Bill.