Indiana US Senator Dan Coats announced today that he will vote to support the bipartisan farm bill agreement the Senate is considering this week. Coats says the bill is not perfect, but it does provide Hoosier farmers with the certainty they need for the next five years. Coats says this farm bill contains over 16-billion dollars in cost savings, reforms outdated programs and reduces food stamp abuse while also providing a broad safety net in the event of a natural disaster. Coats says it also includes his idea to allow Indiana specialty crop producers the flexibility they need to respond to market signals when making planting decisions. The legislation under consideration this week represents a compromise between the Senate-passed bill and an alternative farm bill passed by the House last year.
The last farm bill was last authorized by Congress nearly six-years ago.
The current farm bill:
· Saves a total of $16.6 billion by ending direct payments, merging conservation programs and addressing fraud and abuse in food stamps programs;
· Reinvests $10 billion of savings into crop insurance and rural development programs; and
· Includes an idea Senator Coats pushed for that frees fruit and vegetable growers, including Hoosier tomato growers, from previous acreage planting restrictions, giving them the flexibility they need to meet demand.