by Marion Nestle
Jun 20 2012

Farm Bill Amendment Scorecard

I’m trying to keep track of the Senate votes on the farm bill amendments, with help from Michael Bulger, Senate Floor Monitor @SenGOP_Floor, @ObamaFoodorama, and the  Senate’s official list online.

The list below comes from Farm Bill Primer, where you can read the details of the amendments.

The heartbreak: the defeat yesterday of Senator Gillibrand’s amendment to restore full funding for SNAP.

Senate Amendments for Vote 6-19-12

  • Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii #2440 (highly fractionated tribal lands);  PASSED
  • Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii #2396 (tribal relations office); PASSED
  • Max Baucus, D-Mont., #2429 (livestock); PASSED
  • Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., #2364 (multi-state aquifers); WITHDRAWN
  • Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, #2445 (rural development); PASSED
  • Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., #2370 (pulse pilot); PASSED
  • Robert Casey, D-Pa., #2238 (technical/study -federal milk marketing) PASSED
  • Christopher Coons, D-Del., #2426 (poultry insurance study); PASSED
  • Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., #2422 (conservation innovation grants); PASSED
  • Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Feinstein #2309 (insurance recall); PASSED
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., #2156 (SNAP); DEFEATED
  • Kay Hagan, D-N.C., #2366 (crop insurance plain language); PASSED
  • John Kerry, D-Mass., #2187 (commercial fishermen); PASSED
  • Mary Landrieu, D-La., #2321 (rural development loans); PASSED
  • Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, #2190 (milk marketing order reform); PASSED
  • Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., #2192 (value added grants); DEFEATED
  • Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, #2167 (pay cap marketing loans); PASSED
  • Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., #2174 (SNAP); DEFEATED
  • Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., #2172 (SNAP); DEFEATED
  • Rand Paul, R-Ky., #2181 ($250,000 income limit); DEFEATED
  • Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., #2191 (wind loans); DEFEATED
  • John McCain, R-Ariz., #2199 (catfish); PASSED
  • Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., #2217 (organic/AMA); DEFEATED
  • Jim DeMint, R-S.C., #2263 (broadband funding); DEFEATED
  • Jim DeMint, R-S.C., #2262 (SoS Free MKT); PASSED
  • Jim DeMint, R-S.C., #2276 (checkoffs); DEFEATED

For what’s happening today, see the Senate list for June 20.

At some point, I’ll try to make sense of all this.  For the moment, it’s food politics happening in real time.


  • My head is swimming. This is such an important (albeit convoluted) piece of legislation. Somehow, the headlines today are rather Kardashian.

  • FarmerJane

    Every amendment means something to someone. Senators Gillibrand and Snowe went to bat for the average dairy farm families of the Northeast asking for studies of how the federal milk marketing orders impact the prices we are paid for milk. The price of milk ultimately sculpts the working countryside of the Northeast…think beautiful well maintained farmsteads producing milk for Boston and NY or….rural poverty with miles of farm buildings caving in (as we see in Upstate NY). Milk is currently priced in most federal orders in three or four classifications. The portion going into fluid drinking milk is Class I (with the highest price paid to the farmers), Class II is yogurt and soft products and III is cheese. Through a complicated administrative structure the prices are blended together to what the farmer ultimately receives. So in NY, as more and more milk goes into greek yogurt that pays the farmer less money ultimately. NY dairy farmers have been calling for federal order reform since current pricing structure means that we are paid the least of all dairy farmers in the northeast (for the same quality milk). Fluid milk is a very “local” food with much fluid milk staying within the region where it is produced. Senator Gillibrand has been fantastic about coming out into the working countryside and actually talking to us, the regular dairy farmers. Millions of acres of land are devoted Upstate to dairy grazing, hay crops, corn crops producing $2 Billions worth of milk at farmgate that pumps money into rural NY.
    From what I have seen so far, Senator Casey’s 2238 is calling for more transparency for farmers in the pricing process. Currently, dairy farmers are not deriving as much benefit as they could from electronic reporting of inventories, purchases, etc. A frequent complaint is that the Chicago Mercantile exerts undue influence over cheese price setting and is actually controlled by “the invisible hand” …some say of Kraft. A penny either way on the price of cheese reverberates out in rural dairyland, throwing farm incomes up or down. Dairy farmers have been asking that electronic reporting be stepped up and brought into modern times and greater transparency in milk pricing be pushed forward so that farmers will have access to better information.

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