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Farm Bill disappointing for Congressman Kind, Senator Johnson

by
Rep Ron Kind (D-W)  properly sized
Rep Ron Kind (D-W) properly sized

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAU) -- The new Farm Bill did not get the support of all of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation.

Wisconsin’s Senators cancelled each other votes, with Democrat Tammy Baldwin supporting it and Republican Ron Johnson opposing it.

In the House, Republicans Paul Ryan, Sean Duffy, and Tom Petri supported the new Farm Bill. Republican Jim Sensenbrenner and Democrats Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore, and Ron Kind voted against it. The final vote in the House was 251-166.  The Senate passed it 68-32.

Ron Kind says he likes many parts of the new Farm Bill, but is disappointed the reforms didn’t go far enough. “Getting something done brings some certainty. I just wish it was a better Farm Bill than what was passed. I voted against it because there wasn’t enough reforms with these commodity subsidy programs.”

Direct payments will be a thing of the past, and dairy farmers will be using a new insurance program in its place. Kind hopes the new system works well. “We’re in unknown territory. There’s a new dairy insurance program that’s never been tested before. It’s trying to cover against short-term losses when the market does fluctuate, but also create incentives that will not lead to overproduction when the market price starts to go up.”

Kind says in the past, several large scale dairies out west would expand production while the price was up, but then the price would bottom out because of too much milk on the market.

Senator Johnson voted against the Farm Bill, but for some different reasons. He says, “About 80 percent of the spending in the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act will be spent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly called food stamps, a program that is out of control and should be separated from the farm bill and debated on its own merits" adding, "Instead of beginning to address the problem, this bill only makes it worse."  

Johnson says the bill's positive provisions, such as improved risk management, are outweighed by negative ones, such as government regulated dairy supply management and sugar subsidies. 

Kind supports the inclusion of the SNAP food stamp program in the Farm Bill, unlike Johnson.

The Farm Bill package is awaiting President Obama’s signature.

(Our interview with Congressman Ron Kind can be heard on our website, here.)

 

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