Washington, DC (July 11, 2013) – Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce voted for H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013, commonly known as the Farm Bill. 

“Since 1973, the legislation commonly referred to as ‘the Farm Bill,’ has included far more than just agricultural policy.  Despite the name, the bulk of the legislation has been devoted to critically important nutrition assistance programs many New Mexicans rely on,” said Pearce.  “That is why less than a month ago, I voted for a reauthorization of a Farm Bill that included both critical updates to our nation’s agricultural policies and much needed reforms that allow the nutrition assistance to continue for decades to come.  Unfortunately, the House was unable to pass this version of the bill on the first attempt.” 

In order to provide necessary certainty to both farmers and working families of New Mexico, the House version of the bill needed to be divided into an agriculture bill and a nutritional assistance bill.  As a result, the bill passed today only includes reforms and reauthorizations of our nation’s agricultural policies.

“This is not a perfect solution,” Pearce continued.  “Yet, action today assures true reforms to both our agricultural and our nutrition assistance polices can continue in Congress.  We as a Congress must provide farmers and hardworking families nationwide with the certainty this legislation offers.  The assurances nutrition assistance programs provide are too important to be denied and should be addressed immediately. The separate bills provide an opportunity to remove waste, fraud, and abuse from these programs, making them work for the families who need them the most. I urge my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to work together to find the solutions and reforms needed to provide all Americans with the certainty this legislation can offer for years to come.”

The Farm Bill also included an amendment introduced by Congressman Pearce with other western representatives that requires the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study on current USDA programs related to the Lesser Prairie Chicken.  The amendment would require the Secretary to study and analyze the economic impact and effectiveness of these programs within 90 days of enactment.  This provision will help protect New Mexico jobs, and give New Mexicans more ability to participate in a decision that would have a major impact on their communities and the state.