U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden applauded Tuesday’s final passage of the 2014 Farm Bill and commended Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chair Debbie Stabenow for moving the legislation forward.
“Chairwoman Stabenow did a remarkable job of showing how it’s still possible to get things done in Washington,” Wyden said. “The Farm Bill provides certainty and a strong safety net for the agricultural community for the next five years.”
The Agricultural Act of 2014, known as the Farm Bill, now moves to the President’s desk to be signed into law, and it includes several key provisions backed by Wyden.
This includes a Wyden-authored farm-to-school provision that will establish a competitive pilot program with up to eight demonstration projects, each representing a different region of the country including one from the Pacific Northwest.
These demonstration projects will help schools source healthy, local fruits and vegetable for the breakfasts, lunches or snacks served to students. Recognizing the growing obesity epidemic among children in the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics previously supported this provision citing its effective approach to supporting child nutrition.
Another of these provision will make $9 million in annual grant funding available to help gleaners, who collect food that would otherwise be thrown away and donate it to food banks or other institutions that deliver food directly to those in need. Over 34 million tons of food was wasted nationwide in 2010.
Wyden also authored a provision that reaffirms the determination by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Supreme Court that forest roads and other silviculture activities are not open to more litigation over water discharge permits under the Clean Water Act.
This will provide the certainty the timber industry needs to keep the forestry jobs that are so crucial to rural Oregon. By ending litigation over questions that have already been answered, it allows federal agencies, conservation groups and timber companies to get back to work on improving the management of our federal forests.
Finally, it also includes a provision that provides one year of full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which provides critical funding to more than 1,900 counties in 49 states and territories, making up for diminished tax revenues stemming from federal ownership of land within county boundaries.