Senate Passes 2012 "Farm Bill" Reauthorization (S. 3240)

On June 21, the Senate approved the “Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 ,” more commonly known as the 2012 Farm Bill by vote of 64 - 35. The bill is estimated to cost $969 billion between 2013 and 2022, $23.6 billion less than the previous farm bill, approved in 2008. For a full breakdown of the agriculture related provisions in the Farm Bill, please review the summary released on May 2 by the NCSL Agriculture and Energy Committee. For a full breakdown of the provisions of the nutrition related provisions in the Farm Bill, please review the summary released on May 2 by the NCSL Human Services and Welfare Committee.

Following the bill’s introduction in the Senate on June 7, over 300 germane and non-germane amendments were submitted for consideration. However, Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) struck a deal on what amendments would be considered, reducing that number to 73.  Beginning on June 19, the 73 amendments chosen were voted on - alternating between Democrat and Republican sponsored amendments and several required 60 votes for passage. 

Many amendments were debated during the voting process, especially those related to the commodity title. For example, S.A. 2439 - an amendment sponsored by Senator Tom Coburn (Okla.) - reduces the level of federal premium support for crop insurance by 15 percent for individuals with an adjusted gross income above $750,000. The amendment passed by a vote of 66 – 33. As far as the rural development title, one amendment of particular note was the approval of mandatory funding for rural development and beginning farmer and rancher programs. S.A. 2445 – an amendment sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio) – provides for mandatory funding for the rural development title.  Its passage helped to ally many of the concerns some senators had expressed previously, since this has been touted as a “job’s bill” and the rural development title supports jobs in rural communities through infrastructure projects, investments in beginner, low-income and/or minority farmers and ranchers, and other economic development initiatives. Another contentious commodity debate surrounded the federal sugar program. The Senate debated the federal sugar program as part of S.A. 2433 – an amendment co-sponsored by Senator Pat Tommey (Pa.) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) – that would have removed or altered several changes to the sugar program that were added as provisions in the 2008 “farm bill.” The amendment failed by a vote of 46 – 53. However, S.A. 2340 – an amendment sponsored by Senator Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) – which extends the timeframe for sugar imports did find support and passed by a voice vote. 

In the House, the House Agriculture Committee will hold a business meeting on July, 11 to begin its mark up of the House version of the 2012 “Farm Bill.” Authorization for the current Farm Bill expires at the end of September. 

For additional information on the amendment debate in the Senate, please review the scorecard below for amendments and final votes.

 

Additional Information 

Comparison of the Manager’s Amendment and the Committee Print of the 2012 “Farm Bill”

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Cost Estimate of 2012 “Farm Bill”

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Cost Estimate on Title I Commodity Payments

State of Administration Policy from the White House 

For more information on the farm programs, please contact Marcus Peterson (marcus.peterson@ncsl.org) or Ben Husch (ben.husch@ncsl.org). For more information regarding nutrition programs, please contact Sheri Steisel (sheri.steisel@ncsl.org) or Emily Wengrovius (emily.wengrovius@ncsl.org).


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2012 “Farm Bill” Scorecard (in order of vote sequence)

 

Senator

Amendment No.

Vote

(Yea – Nay)

Brief Summary

 

Akaka (Hawaii)

2440

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Provides loans to purchasers of highly fractionated tribal lands.

 

Snowe (Maine)

2190

Voice Vote – Nays

 

Followed by Roll Call Vote

 

66-33

Reforms milk marketing order form.

 

Akaka (Hawaii)

2396

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Establishes a tribal relations office.

 

Ayotte (N.H.)

2192

38-61

Improves value-added agricultural products grants.

 

Baucus (Mont.)

2429

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Improves the Livestock Forage Program.

 

Collins (Maine)

2444

Withdrawn due to passage of the Snowe Amendment (S.A. 2190)

-

 

Bingaman (N.M.)

2364

Withdrawn from Vote schedule due to changes from the manager

-

 

Grassley (Iowa)

2167

75-24

Limits gains on marketing loans to $75,000 for an individual.

 

Brown (Ohio)

2445

55-44

Provides mandatory funding rural development and beginning farmer and rancher programs.

 

Sessions (Ala.)

2174

43 - 56

Limits eligibility for SNAP to households in which each member receives cash assistance under a state program.

 

Cantwell (Wash.)

2370

58 - 41

Promotes the purchase of pulse crop products for school meals.

 

Nelson (Neb.)/Sessions (Ala.)

2243/2172

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Limits the way state bonus payments can be used. 

 

41 - 58

Repeals state bonus payments under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008. 

 

Casey (Pa.)

2238

73 - 26

Require a more frequent dairy reporting, conduct a study of the feasibility of establishing two classes of milk (fluid and manufacturing). 

 

Paul (Ky.)

2181

15 - 84

Establish a $250,000 adjusted gross income level to receive benefits in the farm bill.

 

Coons (Del.)

2426

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Provides for a poultry insurance study

 

Alexander (Tenn.)

2191

33 – 66

Any cooperative organization or other entity that receives a loan or loan guarantee under this subsection for a wind project would be ineligible for any other federal benefit, assistance, or incentive for any other project under any other provision. 

 

Feinstein (Calif.)

2422

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Provides for conservation innovation grants.

 

McCain (Ariz.)

2199

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Creates a USDA inspection program for domestic and imported catfish. 

 

Feinstein (Calif.)

2309

76 - 23

Requires a study on determining whether offering policies that provide coverage for specialty crops involving food-safety issues. 

 

Toomey (Pa.)

2217

42 - 57

Eliminates a $750 cost-share program to help farmers convert from conventional to organic productions.

 

Gillibrand (N.Y.)

2156

33 - 66

Reduces the premium subsidy for crop insurance and using the savings to restore funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as well as the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

 

DeMint (S.C.)

2263

45 - 54

Extending the date of a provision from 2012 to 2017. 

 

Hagan (N.C.)

2366

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Requires better accessibility for crop insurance, including updating website and spelling out information in simpler language.

 

DeMint (S.C.)

2262

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Add a senate of the Senate that nothing in this act or an amendment made by this act should manipulate prices or interfere with the free market.

 

Kerry (Mass.)

2187

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Allows for emergency loans for commercial fishermen.

 

DeMint (S.C.)

2268

14 - 48

No loan guarantee may be provided by the Secretary or any other federal official for any project or activity carried out by the Secretary.

 

Landrieu (La.)

2321

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Provides for rural development loans.

 

DeMint (S.C.)

2276

20 – 79

Prohibiting mandatory or compulsory check-off programs. 

 

Manchin (W. Va.)

2345

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Creates a national nutritional and dietary study for pregnant women and children under age 2. 

 

DeMint (S.C.)

2273

44 – 55

Any amount given to any community grant shall not exceed 50% of the development costs of rural broadband projects.

 

Merkley (Ore.)

2382

63 – 36

Directs USDA Risk Management Program to establish better indemnity prices for organic crops. 

 

Coburn (Okla.)

2289

30 – 69

Reduce funding for the Market Access Program by 20% and restrict its use for certain uses. 

 

Schumer (N.Y.)

2427

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Provides for grants through the Acer Access and Development Program.

 

Coburn (Okla.)

2293

63 – 36

Impose an adjusted gross income cap for conservation projects. 

 

Stabenow (Mich.)

2453

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Makes changes to the Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP).

 

Kerry (Mass.)

2454

59 - 40

Provides presidential waiver authority for prohibiting food assistance to North Korea.

 

Kyl (Ariz.)

2354

43 - 56

Prohibits food assistance to North Korea. Lacks waiver authority

 

Udall (Colo.)

2295

77 – 22

Establishes $200 million in funding to address insect infestations and related diseases involving the Pine Bark beetle.

 

Lee (Utah)

2313

21 - 77

Repeals the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978.

 

Warner (Va.)

2457

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Provides for loans and grants for the expansion of broadband services in rural areas.

 

Lee (Utah)

2314

15 - 84

Repeals the Conservation Reserve Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program. 

 

Wyden (Ore.)

2442

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Provides for microloans to initiate gleaner programs.

 

Boozman (Ark.)

2355

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Funds the National Agriculture Law Library at $1 million a year. 

 

Wyden (Ore.)

2388

Division Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Facilitates better access for locally produced foods for the school lunch program. 

 

Boozman (Ark.)

2360

35 - 63

Changes emergency food assistance.

 

Leahy (Vt.)

2204

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Establishes state rural development councils. 

 

Toomey (Pa.)

2226

36 - 63

Strikes language in Energy Title regarding specific support.

 

Nelson (Neb.)

2242

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Redefines the definition of rural from 25,000 people to 35,000 for rural housing loans.

 

Toomey (Pa.)

2433

46 - 53

Makes changes to the sugar program.

 

Klobucher (Minn.)

2299

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Requires a report on transportation issues regarding the movement of agricultural products, domestically produced renewable fuels and renewable energy. 

 

Lee (Utah)

-

29 - 70

Motion to Recommit to FY 2008 Farm Bill Funding Levels.

Carper (Del.)

2287

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Expands research and extension grants for improving poultry feed. 

 

Johnson (Wis.)

-

40 - 59

Motion to Recommit Nutrition and Agriculture Titles, Requiring the 2012 Farm Bill to Proceed Forward as Two Separate Bills.

Sanders (Vt.)

2254

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Establishes $50,000 biomass consumer cooperative grants.

 

Chambliss (Ga.)

2438

52 - 47

Applies highly-erodible land conservation compliance to eligibility for crop insurance.

 

Thune (S.D.)

2437

44 - 55

Reduces the level of federal premium support for crop insurance by 15% for people with adjusted gross income above $750,000. Similar to #2439, but requires a delay of implementation until a study is completed on the effects of such limits.

 

Durbin (Ill.)/Coburn (Okla.)

2439

66 - 33

Reduces the level of federal premium support for crop insurance by 15% for people with AGI above $750,000.

 

Chambliss (Ga.)

2340

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Adjusts sugar import quota date from Feb. 1 to April 1. 

 

Chambliss (Ga.)

2432

Voice Vote – Nays

Amendment rejected.

Would eliminate funding for Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program.

 

Ayotte (N.H.)

2195

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Requires the GAO to study and submit a report to Congress on fraudulent crop insurance claims. 

 

Blunt (Miss.)

2246

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Creates new position at USDA to help military veterans access farm programs. Also creates more agricultural training tailored to veterans. 

 

Moran (Va.)

2403

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Sets the minimum level of non-emergency food assistance from "not less than 15%" to "not less than 20%."

 

Moran (Va.)

2443

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Scales back funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. 

 

Vitter (La.)

2363

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Animal welfare of common, domesticated household animals.

 

Toomey (Pa.)

2247

58 – 41

Amendment rejected due to failure to meet 60 vote threshold.

Establishes consumer confidence reports by community water systems.

 

Sanders (Vt.)

2310

26 – 73

Amendment rejected due to failure to meet 60 vote threshold.

Adds a consumer's right to know about genetically engineered food, requiring labeling.

 

Coburn (Okla.)

2214

95 - 4

Prohibits presidential election campaign funds to be used for party conventions after this year

 

Boxer (Calif.)

2456

47 – 47

Amendment rejected due to failure to meet 60 vote threshold.

EPA administratior shall only conduct aerial overflights to inspect agricultural operations if it is deemed more cost-effective than ground inspections and EPA has notified state officials of such flights.

 

Johanns (Neb.)

2372

56 – 43

Amendment rejected due to failure to meet 60 vote threshold.

An amendment prohibiting EPA from conducting aerial surveillance to inspect agricultural operations or to record images of agricultural operations.

 

Murray (Wash.) /McCain (Ariz.)

2455/2162

Voice Vote – Yeas

Amendment agreed to.

Report on sequestration as it applies to the overall federal budget and the Department of Defense (DoD). The two amendments were combined as a compromise in order to meet the 60 vote threshold.

 

Rubio (Fla.)

2166

45 – 54

Amendment rejected due to failure to meet 60 vote threshold.

Change under National Labor Relations Act to prohibit payments of higher wages or compensation other than provided in a contract or agreement. 

 

Passage of S.3240 as amended

 

64 - 35