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Strain supports House Ag Committee’s Farm Bill proposal

July 11, 2012

           Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., praised Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota for crafting a bipartisan Farm Bill that works for Louisiana farmers and ranchers.

            “I commend the House Agriculture Committee for recognizing that Southern agriculture is unique and farm policy must be tailored to benefit all agricultural commodities throughout the country,” Strain said.

            Strain recently met with the state’s Congressional delegation and House Agriculture Committee and staff members in Washington, D.C. to discuss the Farm Bill.

            “We brought our concerns to the table and worked on solutions that make sense for Louisiana farmers," Strain said. "The proposed legislation now creates a balanced approach for both Louisiana producers and the entire Southern region.”

            Strain said the draft includes key provisions for rice and other commodities that provide a proper safety net for Louisiana farmers and producers throughout the South.

         “While direct payments may now be a thing of the past, the proposed legislation provides effective and fair policies to enable Louisiana farmers and ranchers to continue to supply us with safe and affordable food and fiber.”

            The bill seeks to reform, streamline and consolidate numerous programs, and reduce the federal deficit by $35 billion. The proposed legislation creates two risk-based management tools only intended when a producer suffers a significant loss.

            The bill also includes an extension of the U.S. Sugar Program, which is vital to Louisiana sugarcane growers, and it creates a new risk management program called the Stacked Income Protection Plan or STAX, for cotton producers. It also expands the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition program to benefit not only low-income seniors but also provide low-income families access to fresh fruits and vegetables through coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at farmers markets.

            Strain said he looks forward to continuing dialog with both the House Agriculture Committee and our state’s Congressional delegation.