(NAFB)--According to Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns - the farm bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee relied on budget gimmicks and outdated policy. He says ag producers and taxpayers deserve an updated, reform-minded bill that promotes free market principles and saves taxpayer dollars. He says the bill considered by the Ag Committee didn’t do enough to save money and took us a step back towards 1980s farm policy. Johanns says the bill reported out of the committee counts 6.4-billion dollars in savings from spending cuts that were already signed into law in 2011. He says it also includes a budget gimmick that hides 3.1-billion dollars in payments just outside the ten-year budget window to make the bill appear less-costly. All told - Johanns says the bill actually saves just 15-billion over ten years instead of the 24-billion its supporters are claiming.
Although last year’s bill would have eliminated target prices - Johanns says this year’s bill more than doubles target price payments from 1.5-billion to 3.5-billion. He says target prices were also increased. Johanns says the legislation also failed to achieve available savings by modernizing farm payments or focusing nutrition programs - which can be done without affecting the benefits going to current eligible recipients. Johanns plans to offer fixes during the amendment process.