H.R. 2646: Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002
As the President said, this farm bill breaks a bad fiscal habit. Poorly planned, last minute annual supplemental payments to farmers in recent years have undermined the budget process. This bill provides a safety net for farmers and is generous enough to restore the ability of farmers to plan for the long term, while ensuring more stable and predictable funding.
The Administration made this bill more fiscally responsible. The final bills cost was 29% less than the legislation approved in the Senate. Additionally, the bills spending is consistent with historical levels.
As the President said, this farm bill keeps our international trade commitments. The Administration worked to ensure that spending remains within the limits of our WTO agreements. The farm bill also contains a newly legislated circuit breaker to ensure to our compliance with international trade commitments.
Over 25 percent of farm income is generated by exports, which demonstrates the importance of trade to U.S. agriculture. The new farm bill spending levels remain vastly lower than Europes the EU spends 3 times the level of the farm bill.
As the President said, this farm bill offers incentives for good conservation practices on working lands. The bill funds programs such as EQIP at record levels. These programs help farmers meet new higher environmental standards, while continuing to work the land.
As the President said, this farm bill is compassionate. The new law allows legal immigrants residing in the U.S. for five years to become eligible for food stamp assistance.
Consistent Farm Policy
This farm bill preserves the main market-oriented features of the 96 Freedom to Farm Act. These features include planting flexibility, no forced-idling of cropland, no government stockpiling of crops and price responsive payment programs.