Tipton Votes to Advance Farm Bill, Provide Certainty for Farmers and Ranchers

May 15, 2013 Issues: Agriculture, Economy and Jobs

Votes for amendment to include white potatoes in food assistance programs

WASHINGTON— Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03), today, voted to provide certainty for rural communities, advancing the Farm Bill out of the House Agriculture Committee after a full day markup. A summary of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) Act of 2013 (Farm Bill) is available here.

The Farm Bill saves nearly $40 billion and consolidates over 100 programs.

“This is not a perfect bill and while I am encouraged by the progress it makes toward eliminating waste, fraud and abuse, I believe that we must continue to work toward greater reforms,” said Tipton.  “There is much in the Farm Bill that is vital for the health of our Agriculture economy, including crop insurance, research, investments in production and regulatory relief. Further delays in passage of the Farm Bill will only continue to cast a shadow of uncertainty on rural America, and risk harming one of the true bright spots—Agriculture—in what has been a tough time for our nation’s economy. I believe that in time we should find a way to divorce the Agriculture aspects in the Farm Bill from welfare assistance and other unrelated programs, as these are very different sets of issues that deserve individual attention. Until that time however, the Farm Bill is critical for our nation’s farming and ranching community, and will provide the tools needed for continued production of the world’s most abundant food supply.”

During the markup, Tipton voted to attach an amendment (#10, Rep. Reid Ribble) to the Farm Bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct an economic and public health review of the benefits of white potatoes on low-income families at nutritional risk.

“Farmers in the San Luis Valley produce some of the world’s best potatoes, and while healthy, affordable and a traditional staple in school lunches, white potatoes are the only vegetable excluded from the WIC food assistance program,” said Tipton. “It doesn’t make sense for potatoes to be excluded, and I am hopeful that this amendment will take steps toward making this healthy option available to low income families.”

This is the second time Tipton has participated in a Farm Bill markup, and voted to advance it through committee.  Last year, Tipton joined with five of his Colorado colleagues to urge passage of the Farm Bill, as well as with House colleagues to urge House leadership to bring the Farm Bill to the floor for a vote.

“We have received assurances that this legislation will receive a vote in the House, and I am optimistic that we will pass a Farm Bill this year to provide the long-term certainty Agriculture producers need to succeed and feed our growing nation,” said Tipton.

Rundown of the Farm Bill Courtesy of the House Agriculture Committee:

  • FARRM saves nearly $40 billion in mandatory funds, including the immediate sequestration of $6 billion.

  • FARRM repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs.

  • FARRM eliminates direct payments, which farmers received regardless of market conditions.

  • FARRM streamlines and reforms commodity policy saving nearly $14 billion while also giving producers a choice in how best to manage risk.

  • FARRM includes the first reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 saving more than $20 billion.

  • FARRM consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, improving program delivery to producers and saving more than $6 billion.

  • FARRM builds on previous investments to fruit and vegetable production, farmers markets, and local food systems.

  • FARRM includes several regulatory relief measures to help mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face.

For more information on the Farm Bill visit the House Agriculture Committee website.