Employment Law Updates | New Proposed Legislation
December 1, 2011
Creation of Hoosier Jobs is Target of Farming Flexibility Act of 2011
Farming Flexibility Act of 2011
H.R. 2675, 7/27/2011
Sen. Dick Lugar has re-introduced the Farming Flexibility Act of 2011 which he claimed “would save taxpayer dollars, create Hoosier jobs and allow farmers more flexibility while limiting the role that government plays in the farming industry.”
In 2008, Congress passed a Farm Bill that continued draconian restrictions on the planting of fruits and vegetables, measures that threaten the livelihood of many farmers and hard working Hoosiers that grow and process these products.
The Farming Flexibility Act of 2011 would remedy these restrictions by allowing farmers to opt out of the federal farm program on a yearly basis to raise produce for processing. Farmers would voluntarily forgo federal subsidies in favor of producing profitable fruits and vegetables.
This bill would not only help farmers and the jobs of workers in Indiana, but it also would save taxpayer dollars by reducing the amount of money the government directs to farmers as a means of supporting agriculture.
“Farmers are more profitable when they make their own planting decisions based on markets as opposed to government policy,” Lugar said. “The Farming Flexibility Act of 2011 will reduce government’s role in American farming and reduce government spending by $8 million dollars over ten years while adding American jobs and supporting family farms. It is a valuable expansion of the Planting Transferability Pilot Program that was included in the 2008 Farm Bill, based on the proven benefits for American farmers, processors, and consumers.”
In 2007, Lugar introduced the Farm, Ranch, Equity, Stewardship, and Health (FRESH) Act which would have saved billions of dollars in farm payments which could have been used to reduce the deficit. Over five years, these reforms would have created more than $16 billion in additional savings that would be available to invest in other priorities including deficit reduction.
The bill was introduced on July 27, 2011 on the congressional floor. On the same day, it was referred to the referred to the House Committee on Agriculture for study and deliberation.
The Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress released the following summary of the bill:
- amends the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 to consider mung beans and pulse crops as covered commodities whose planting on base acres is prohibited unless the commodity, if planted, is destroyed before harvest;
- provides that: (1) as of crop year 2012 producers on a farm may reduce the base acres for any covered commodity for a crop year by one acre for each acre used for the production of fruits or vegetables (other than potatoes) for processing; (2) such acres devoted to fruits or vegetables shall be included in base acres for the covered commodity for the subsequent crop year unless the producers on the farm make the election to produce fruits and vegetables for the subsequent crop year; and (3) if a farm’s base acres are recalculated the production of fruits or vegetables shall be considered to be the same as the planting, prevented planting, or production of a covered commodity; and
- requires producers to: (1) demonstrate that they have entered into a contract to produce a fruit or vegetable crop for processing, (2) produce such crop as part of a crop rotation program to achieve agronomic and pest and disease management benefits, and (3) provide evidence of the crop’s disposition.
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