Maloney Applauds the Senate’s Passage of the 2014 Farm Bill
Washington, D.C – Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) applauded the Senate passage of the bi-partisan Farm Bill, which passed by a vote 68-32. The 2014 Farm Bill includes the very first bill Rep. Maloney introduced, the CROP Act, which reforms crop insurance and makes critical investments in the specialty crop farmers who drive the Hudson Valley’s agricultural economy. This bill passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 255-166 on January 29 and now awaits the President’s signature.
“After the inexcusable partisanship of the last Congress failed them, hardworking families, farmers and businesses in the Hudson Valley are finally getting a historic Farm Bill that works for them. With the inclusion of my bill specifically helping our specialty crop farmers and critical resources for conservation programs and local foods, this bipartisan Farm Bill is a historic investment in Hudson Valley agriculture, which adds over ten thousand jobs and more than one hundred million dollars to our economy every year,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “While I am deeply disappointed by the cuts to the food stamp program, folks have been very clear with me that when it comes to vital investments like the Farm Bill they want imperfect progress, not years of perfect gridlock.”
Key provisions Rep. Maloney fought to secure in the bill include:
- The Creating Reliability for Our Producers (CROP) Act. Rep. Maloney’s first bill, the bipartisan, budget neutral CROP Act, will help specialty crop producers protect their livelihoods from devastating disasters by investing in the development of new and improved insurance plans for underserved crops like those found in the Hudson Valley. In addition, this bill invests in the development of whole farm insurance, designed to assist smaller, diversified farms like those in the Hudson Valley. It will also invest in the development of weather based plans that can help farmers manage their risks from weather-related events like flooding.
- Ordering the Agriculture Secretary to work with farmers in the Black Dirt Region. Rep. Maloney worked to successfully include a provision directing the Secretary of Agriculture to work with producers whose operations contain muck soils like those in the Hudson Valley. In the original House version of the Farm Bill, Rep. Maloney inserted a similar amendment into the bill that required the Secretary of Agriculture to take action to help with flood protections around the Wallkill and Black Dirt region.
- Streamlining critical conservation programs. Through streamlining and consolidating 23 programs into 13, the new conservation framework will ensure existing programs work for the Hudson Valley. Rep. Maloney authored an amendment to the bill that allowed for greater flexibility when land trusts are partnering with farmers to put agricultural land into easements.
- Expanding support for specialty crop programs. After a number of programs lost their funding, Rep. Maloney fought to expand support for specialty crop research programs. The Farm Bill expands the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which has been successful in enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops found in the Hudson Valley by supporting research, product quality enhancement, and food safety. Additionally, the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, another program important to New York state agriculture will receive $80 million each year.
- Helping organic farmers. In addition to allowing organic farmers to establish research and marketing orders, this bill will help farmers become organic certified – helping them to sell high-value crops in new markets. It also invests in important programs like the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative – which funds research into solutions for problems affecting organic producers.
- Improving distribution of locally grown food. The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program continues competitive grants to improve direct producer to consumer market opportunities including the development of local food system infrastructure.
- Prioritizes Lyme disease research. The Farm Bill makes zoological diseases like Lyme disease a priority area for the Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a competitive grant for agricultural research
- Enhancing beginning farmer and rancher provisions. With the average age of a farmer in the Hudson Valley now at 57, Rep. Maloney worked with Congressman Gibson to expand programs that assist younger Americans entering Agriculture, especially our veterans. In addition, Rep. Maloney has supported ensuring farmers have more access to credit so they can grow and expand their businesses.