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What's in the farm bill?

By Janet Kubat Willette
jkubat@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 02/24/2014 11:22 PM

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WASHINGTON — After nearly four years of ups and downs, from the first failed supercommittee to the splitting of the farm and nutrition title in the House, the Agricultural Act of 2014 has had a wild ride.

Emails flooded inboxes, with supporters and detractors hoping to have their say on the nearly 1,000 page bill that is expected to cost $500 billion and save $23 billion over 10 years.

The bill has 12 titles. Here are some highlights:

• Title One: Commodities: Reauthorizes sugar policy, livestock disaster assistance programs will cover 2012 and 2013 losses and receive permanent baseline.

• Title Two: Conservation: Continues the Conservation Stewardship Program at 10 million acres per year and provides $10 million in mandatory funding for wetland mitigation banking.

• Title Three: Trade: Reauthorizes the Market Access Program, Foreign Market Development Program, Technical Assistance for Speciality Crops and Emerging Markets Program.

• Title Four: Nutrition: Provides $20 million per year in additional support to food banks for The Emergency Food Assistance Program and allows SNAP benefits to be used for participation in Community Supported Agriculture.

• Title Five: Credit: Increases the loan guarantee amount for the conservation and loan guarantee program from 75 percent to 80 percent, and for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, to 90 percent.

• Title Six: Rural Development: Provides mandatory funding of $150 million for water and waste water programs, $63 million for value added program and $15 million for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.

• Title Seven: Research, Extension and related programs: Provides $800 million for specialty crop research; $100 million each for organic research and Extension initiative and beginning farmer and rancher development program.

• Title Eight: Forestry: Reauthorizes the Forest Legacy Program and the Healthy Forest Reserve Program.

• Title Nine: Energy: Creates mandatory funding baseline of $50 million per year for Rural Energy for America and provides mandatory funding for $25 million per year for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

• Title 10: Horticulture: Authorizes the first of its kind organic checkoff program and provides $150 million in funding to the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program.

• Title 11: Crop Insurance: Expands risk management for organic production, specialty crops, alfalfa and crops for bioenergy production. Requires that the Risk Management Agency and Farm Service Agency share information.

• Title 12: Miscellaneous: Establishes a USDA Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison to aid veteran farmers and ranchers.