Senators Monday returned to work on the 2013 Farm Bill, voting on two amendments, one to study the possibility of a crop insurance program for alfalfa growers and another increasing funding for food aid projects. Both amendments were overwhelmingly approved.
Sen. Jerry Moran's alfalfa amendment would require the Federal Crop Insurance program to implement research examining crop insurance options for alfalfa growers.
Moran said the alfalfa crop supports the livestock industry and dairy production. According to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service, 42.4 million tons of alfalfa was produced last year alone.
Moran said the amendment operates at no cost to taxpayers. The final vote was 72-18.
An additional amendment offered by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., on behalf of Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., Mike Johanns, R-Neb., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., also passed.
The amendment would increase spending authorization for local and regional food aid procurement from $40 million to $60 million.
"This is an amendment that we are happy to accept. It would modestly increase the authorization for local food procurement program," Stabenow explained.
The Senator followed with a thank you to colleagues for diligence in completing two more votes on Farm Bill amendments.
"Our goal is to complete this by the end of the week," she said, again highlighting the figure of 16 billion jobs that she says depend on the bill.
Senators hope to save $24 billion over 10 years with the Farm Bill, though the House looks towards even larger cuts. It is expected to reach the floor by mid-June.
The Hill reports that House Majority leader Eric Cantor is supportive of the House Ag Committee-passed bill and looks forward to floor debate.