The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big "I") applauds today's passage of the Conference Report to S.954, "The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013," in the U.S. Senate in a 68-32 vote. The House passed the legislation in a 251-166 vote on Jan. 29.
The Farm Bill is now headed to President Barack Obama's desk and he is expected to sign it into law in the near future.
"The Big 'I' is pleased that both chambers of Congress have passed this important legislation that will strengthen the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) and recognizes it as the central risk management tool for farmers and ranchers across the country," says Robert Rusbuldt, Big "I" president & CEO. "Independent insurance agents and brokers play an integral role in the efficient and effective sales and servicing of this program."
After almost two years of deliberation, the Senate and House were finally able to come to a consensus on a five-year bill. The long-term agreement saves taxpayers $23 billion over 10 years by ending the Direct Payment Program for commodities and by finding savings within the food stamp (SNAP) program. Additionally, the FCIP will not have payment limits, but it will be tied to conservation compliance.
"Opposing payment limits for the FCIP was a central goal for the Big 'I' as the Farm Bill went through the legislative process," says Charles Symington, Big "I" senior vice president for external and government affairs. "We strongly believe that farmers should have the ability to purchase adequate coverage for their farmland and we are pleased that the Senate and House have finally reached consensus on a long-term bill. Congress has rightfully recognized the FCIP as a valuable insurance program for farmers and ranchers that also protects taxpayers."