RELEASE:

COCHRAN VOTES TO RENEW THREE AGRICULTURE PROGRAMS

Senate Ag Committee Moves to Reauthorize Livestock, Grain & Forestry Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today reported committee action to advance legislation to reauthorize three U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs pertaining to livestock price reporting, grain marketing standards and the National Forest Foundation.

Cochran, a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, on Thursday voted for committee approval of the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015 (HR.2051). This measure includes three titles: the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 2015, the National Forest Foundation Act Reauthorization, and the U.S. Grain Standards Act Reauthorization. Authorization for these programs has either expired or will soon expire.

“There is bipartisan and bicameral support for reauthorizing programs that provide important tools for grain farmers and livestock producers,” Cochran said. “I’m pleased that the National Forest Foundation will be reauthorized to continue its work with the Forest Service to help improve our national forests and grasslands.”

The Livestock Mandatory Reporting program requires price reporting for cattle, lambs and swine for use in USDA publications that provide critical information to farmers and ranchers regarding the livestock and meat market.

The National Forest Foundation, established by Congress in 1993 as a nonprofit profit partner with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), would be authored through 2018, correlating with the expiration of the 2014 Farm Bill that Cochran helped develop last year. The Foundation utilizes private and public funding to work with the USFS to restore and enhance national forests and grasslands. In Mississippi, for example, the organization has supported a longleaf pine ecosystem restoration and a hazardous fuels reduction program.

Reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act would extend USDA authority to set official marketing standards for grains and oilseeds, and to enforce rules for voluntary inspections of domestic grain. The committee-passed measure is written to ensure that the U.S. grain inspection and weighing system remains accurate, reliable, and cost-effective. It also includes reforms to improve transparency and predictability throughout the federal grain inspection system. Mississippi is a leading producer of grain sorghum and rice.

HR.2051 is now available for consideration by the full Senate.

9/18/15