Senate Passes Farm Bill with Strong Energy Title and Strengthened Conservation Provisions

A bipartisan majority in the Senate approved the Farm Bill after debating and voting on more than 70 amendments. Amendments to weaken or repeal key programs in the energy and conservation titles were rejected, and a conservation compliance requirement was added for beneficiaries of federal crop insurance subsidies.

On June 21, the Senate voted 64-35 for passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240). To see how your senators voted, click here. A number of weakening amendments were proposed to the energy and conservation titles, including those listed below. Overall, the votes on the amendments showed continued strong, bipartisan support for energy and conservation programs. (Click on the amendment numbers below for more information and to find out how your senators voted).

  • SA 2314 amendment by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) to repeal the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Conservation Reserve Program. Rejected 15-84.
  • SA 2313 amendment by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) to repeal the Forest Legacy Program. Rejected 21-77.
  • SA 2268 amendment by Jim DeMint (R-SC) to prohibit USDA secretary from making loan guarantees. Rejected 14-84.
  • SA 2191 amendment by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to prohibit any entity that receives a Business and Industry Loan or loan guarantee for a wind project from receiving any other federal benefits or incentives. Rejected 33-66.
  • SA 2226 amendment by Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA) to repeal the Biorefinery Assistance Program. Rejected 36 - 63.

There were also two strengthening amendments approved for the energy title and conservation:

  • SA 2254 (voice vote, not recorded) amendment by Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) to provide small grants for Community Wood Energy. Approved by voice vote.
  • SA 2438 amendment by Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) to require conservation compliance for those who receive federal crop insurance subsidies. Approved 52-47.

For more background information about the bill, see our SBFF post from June 11.