Following passage of the more than $950 billion farm bill conference report in the House on Wednesday, several grain and agriculture groups said they support the move, citing reforms to safety net provisions and conservation measures.
The bill passed by a vote of 251-166. Most Republicans supported the bill, with 162 votes in favor and 63 against; 89 Democrats voted in favor of the bill and 103 voted against. Fourteen House members did not vote.
After final passage, Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said the bill is "legislation we can all be proud of."
"(The bill) fulfills the expectations the American people have of us. They expect us to work together to find ways to reduce the cost of the federal government," he said. "The Agricultural Act contributes major savings to deficit reduction, significant reforms to policy, and yet still provides a safety net not only for the production of American food and fiber, but also to ensure our fellow citizens have enough food to eat. I am hopeful this legislation will enjoy the same success when the Senate considers it, and I encourage the president to sign it quickly into law."
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Chairwoman of the Senate Ag Committee, was equally content with the bill, noting that the next step is to take the bill to the Senate.
"It's now up to the Senate to take the final step. The Senate has twice passed the farm bill with overwhelming bipartisan support. I have no doubt we'll do it again, and show that it is possible to do something to reduce the deficit and boost the economy when people work across the aisle," Stabenow said.
Key farm, conservation and grain groups issued statements of support following the passage. Here's what many of them had to say:
National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre: "We're thrilled to see today's action on the part of the House and look forward to an equally fast consideration in the Senate. This legislation provides an adequate and flexible farm safety net, as well as a strong federal crop insurance program."
American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser: "The House has done its part and come together across party lines to pass a good bill—a compromise bill—that represents the needs of soybean farmers and so many other aspects of agriculture. USDA needs time to put these programs in place for 2014 crops, which begin to be harvested in May. The Senate needs to take up the bill and pass it immediately."
American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman: "It’s been a tough road for the legislation during the past two years, but we are pleased with the clear bipartisan vote that prevailed. We appreciate the conferees’ diligent work in making some tough decisions to put forth a solid bill and in getting it to this crucial point."
U.S. Meat Export Federation President Philip Seng: "USMEF commends the farm bill conference committee for finding the common ground necessary to advance legislation that will put in place for the next five years programs that are critical to U.S. agriculture and the rural economy. Exports are extremely important to the profitability of our nation's farmers and ranchers, and the strong, bipartisan support for the MAP and FMD programs in both houses of Congress is very gratifying."
The Land Trust Alliance President Rand Wentworth: "(Farm bill conservation) funding is a great investment for future generations of farmers, ranchers and all Americans. It will enable the purchase of perpetual conservation easements from landowners who are willing to restrict their land development and help secure food and fiber, clean water, wildlife habitat, and our rural heritage."
Though there was significant support from several groups, others weren't pleased with the bill's inclusion of the Country of Origin Labeling provision.
According to representatives of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the National Pork Producers, the COOL amendment kept them from supporting the farm bill as a whole.
NCBA President Scott George said Tuesday that they were "disappointed in all members of Congress and especially the members of the Conference Committee" for allowing the farm bill process to continue without repealing COOL.