Maloney to Oppose Partisan Farm Bill in Revote Attempt
WASHINGTON – Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) will again oppose the partisan GOP Farm Bill, which would make deep cuts to the crop insurance program, eliminate the nation’s largest land conservation program, fail to address the needs of specialty crop farmers in the Hudson Valley, and throw millions of low-income Americans off of the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The exact same legislation was opposed by a bipartisan majority in May, but through a legislative maneuver, Republicans were able to table the effort and provide an opportunity to revote on the measure.
“They did nothing – nothing – to improve this bill for Hudson Valley farmers – they did a backroom deal on immigration and used the Farm Bill as leverage, if this thing gets any more votes this time around, it will be because of that deal,” said Rep. Maloney. “I’m not playing that game. The same bill that sucked in May still sucks in June.”
Rep. Maloney opposed the Farm Bill in May for a variety of reasons, but some of his largest concerns include:
Crop Insurance – The bill provided $12 billion less in funding for the essential crop insurance program than what was provided in the 2014 version of the Farm Bill. Farmers reeling from this year’s deadly storms will rely on the program to recoup crop losses.
Specialty Crops – The legislation would eliminate an accountability requirement included in the 2014 Farm Bill which improved outreach to specialty crop growers – like apple and onion farmers in the Hudson Valley. It also eliminates the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program and rolls its mandates into a new market development program with three other existing programs. It repeals the Export Assistance for Specialty Crops program, which helps specialty crop growers sell their products overseas.
Young and Beginning farmers – Funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) would have been frozen at 2014 levels even though the average age of farmers continues to rise and too few new farmers are joining the industry. The bill also fails to permanently reauthorize the BFRPD, a bipartisan priority.
Research – The bill failed to provide any new funding for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a public-private partnership which invests in agriculture research. In the Hudson Valley, an FFAR-funded research project to combat the Allium leafminer is currently underway. The leafminer is an invasive species of pest which threatens Orange County’s multimillion dollar annual onion crop.
Conservation – This Farm Bill would have eliminated America’s largest conservation program, the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The program’s existing mandates would be rolled into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which would effectively cut conservation funding by $5 billion.
SNAP – The bill included billions of dollars in cuts when compared with the 2014 version of the Farm Bill. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates indicated that participation in the program would drop by millions over the next ten years had the bill passed.