May 15 2013
Washington, D.C. – Late last night, the House Agriculture Committee passed the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (Farm Bill) by a bipartisan vote of 36-10. Rep. Noem voted for the legislation, which saves almost $40 billion and makes farm and nutrition programs more accountable to American taxpayers.
“South Dakota agriculture producers deserve the long-term certainty that comes with the passage of a five-year Farm Bill,” said Rep. Noem. “I continue to believe it is essential that we grow our own food supply in this country. Consumers deserve a safe, reliable and affordable food supply and policies included in the Farm Bill help make this happen.”
Noem continued: “I fought for policies that are most important to South Dakota, such as livestock disaster programs, forestry provisions to help fight the pine beetle, conservation and a permanent office of tribal relations within the Department of Agriculture. I am proud they were included in this bill and will keep fighting on behalf of South Dakota as the Farm Bill moves forward.”
Rep. Noem championed four main provisions in the House version of the Farm Bill, all of which were included in some form in the final version approved by the Committee. They include:
• Livestock Disaster Protection Act: Would extend the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill for the life of the Farm Bill, as well as retroactive coverage for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
• Protect Our Prairies Act: Would encourage good land stewardship practices and preserve habitats for pheasants, ducks and other wildlife on native sod and on grasslands that haven’t been farmed in the past, while estimated to save taxpayers nearly $200 million over 10 years.
• National Forest Emergency Response Act: Would streamline processes to get boots on the ground faster for pine beetle mitigation efforts. Calls for the federal government to grant categorical exclusions up to 10,000 acres.
• USDA Office of Tribal Relations: Would permanently establish an Office of Tribal Relations within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help improve communication between USDA and Tribal nations. This provision would not cost taxpayers any additional dollars and instead requires USDA to use existing resources to establish the office.
Rep. Noem also spoke up on behalf of farmers and ranchers who were affected by the Pautre Fire in northwestern South Dakota. Noem will work with Chairman Lucas to have language added to the Farm Bill report that will assist these landowners. The language will direct the Forest Service to provide a map detailing the ownership of fences that were lost and to open up any available Federal lands for grazing and to assist landowners through the claims process.
The House and Senate have now both passed Farm Bills out of committee. Following passage in each respective chamber, a conference committee will be assembled to work out differences between the two versions.