Bipartisan farm bill passes Senate, now goes to President for signature
Feb 04 2014
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today passed the bipartisan Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2014, which includes U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner’s (D-VA) provision to support Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. The 2014 farm bill, which saves taxpayers more than $23 billion, was approved with broad bipartisan support on a 68-32 vote today.
“This is a victory for environmental advocates as well as Virginia farmers and agribusiness,” Senator Warner said. “The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure and I am pleased the farm bill passage included my provision to protect and restore water quality and wildlife habitat.”
“Thanks to Senator Warner and his colleagues, this bill provides family farmers with the tools and resources they need to protect clean water in the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers and streams that feed it,” said Alix Murdoch, Federal Policy Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
The bill consolidates the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative Program with similar conservation programs into a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which emphasizes cooperation between producers and regional stakeholders to leverage non-government funds to improve the effectiveness of agricultural conservation activities. As a result of the efforts of Sens. Warner and Tim Kaine (D-VA), and other Bay State senators, conservation funds in the RCPP for regions with the greatest conservation needs will see a significant increase. Sen. Warner will continue working to ensure the new RCPP maintains the Bay program as a priority under this new system, building on efforts already underway through the existing Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative.
As Governor of Virginia from 2002-2006, Sen. Warner increased spending for natural resources by 34% and took a leadership role in protecting the Bay, including adoption of the most comprehensive nutrient reduction standards in the nation. Governor Warner’s final budget included $243 million for clean drinking water programs, and the Warner Administration funded the largest single investment in water quality in state history.