Senate Passes Farm Bill
June 22, 2012

In a vote of 64 to 35, the 2012 Farm Bill passed out of the U.S. Senate on Thursday. 
 
"The Senate version provides a measure of risk management for sheep producers that includes the Livestock Indemnity and Forage Programs in case of weather related losses, the wool marketing loan and, on the marketing side, livestock risk protection," said Peter Orwick, executive director for the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). "Additionally, it provides competitive grants at the department for strengthening the business side of the industry. 
 
"We appreciate Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) for his leadership on the sheep issues. ASI and state associations from across the country thank the agriculture committee leaders and Senators that secured approval of the bill and opposed amendments on the floor that would have impacted the competitiveness of American sheep production," continued Orwick. 
 
Early in the week, in a deal between parties to move the legislation forward, the list of amendments to receive votes was trimmed from some 300 to 73. 
 
Amendments with importance to the sheep industry included:
 
the amendment to end mandatory crop checkoff funds and make them voluntary was defeated;
the amendment to reduce crop insurance sales costs to restore some $4.5 billion in cuts to nutrition program spending was defeated;
an amendment to place a $250,000 adjusted gross income eligibility marker for farmers was defeated; and
the amendment that places a $75,000 cap on marketing loan pay limits did pass.
The focus now switches to the House of Representatives. The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to begin marking-up its version of the Farm Bill on July 11.