Farm bill important to Iowans, ag contributes billions to economy

Author: Kristy

Legislation to greatly impact Iowa’s economy




Iowans around the state have their eyes on the nearly $500 billion legislation signed into law earlier this month and how it will affect their bottom lines.

The Agriculture Act of 2014, commonly called the farm bill, is particularly important to Iowans because agriculture contributes billions of dollars to the state’s economy. According to the Iowa Farm Bureau, in 2007 — the most recent year for which official data have been released — Iowa agriculture products were valued at more than $20 billion.

The legislation sets farming and nutrition policy for the next five years throughout the United States. Experts in agriculture and nutrition policy alike say the passage of the bill will provide a greater sense of certainty in the industry.

“The first factor is relief,” said Craig Hill, the president of the Iowa Farm Bureau. “We have normally amended our farm policy every five years, and this was due in 2012, so we have been in limbo.”

The 2014 farm bill appeared an almost unattainable goal when the 2008 farm bill expired in September 2012. Congress has been staunchly divided on how much money and which programs to cut from the bill for nearly a year and a half.

The bill was passed on Feb. 4 and signed by President Obama three days later. Ryan Drollette, a farm-management specialist at the Iowa State University Extension Office of Johnson County, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture is interpreting the bill and writing regulations that will be implemented later this year.

The two major sticking points in congressional debate came down to direct payments to farmers and the amount of money spent on nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps. This legislation eliminates direct payments altogether and cuts spending on food stamps by $8 billion, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry website.

Overall, the legislation could save the United States more than $16 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. However, the legislation will only be in effect for the next five years.



Posted in In The Industry |

Comments are closed.

Mail Us Facebook Twitter RSS YouTube
See More

Video Feature