House Approves New Farm Bill

The House of Representatives passed a bill on January 29, 2014, authorizing nearly $1 trillion in spending on farm subsidies and nutrition programs, setting the stage for final passage of a new five-year farm bill that has been stalled for more than two years.

Negotiators from the House and Senate spent several weeks working out their differences on issues in the legislation, including cuts to food stamps, income caps on farm subsidies and a price support program for dairy farmers. The bill is expected to save about $16.6 billion over the next 10 years.

As noted in a recent Food Safety News article, the bill calls for scientific and economic analysis of the produce safety rule issued under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), along with a plan to systematically evaluate the impact of the final rule on farming and ranching operations and evaluate and respond to business concerns. This final version eliminated the House provision prohibiting enforcement of the regulation and now simply requires that an analysis of the information used in promulgating the rule be released alongside the final rule.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 251 to 166. The Senate is expected to take up the bill later this week.