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Kaine Statement on Passage of the Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement today after final passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (the Farm Bill) by a vote of 66 to 27. Last week, Kaine voiced his support for passage of a long-term farm bill during discussions with local farmers in Charlottesville and Gordonsville.

“With Senate passage of a long-term farm bill, Virginia’s agricultural community is one step closer to the certainty it deserves to plan for the future. This bill balances important cost-cutting measures with smart, targeted investments while transitioning away from direct farm subsidies to an improved crop insurance model that places greater weight on conservation. This bill also reauthorizes the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative – important provisions to reduce soil erosion and sediment run-off in the Chesapeake Bay. Specialty crop growers in the Commonwealth will also benefit from the bill’s new programs that focus on promoting healthy and local foods and provide competitive grants to develop regional infrastructure that increase access to local markets and products.”

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative is one of four basin programs included in the Farm Bill that are consolidated into a program called the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The RCPP will be a competitive grant program focused on farm conservation projects in multi-state watersheds.  The program will be funded at a base level of $110 million/year in mandatory funding and additional contributions of 8% from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program, the Healthy Forests Reserve Program, and the Conservation Stewardship Program. 

In April, Senator Kaine signed a letter along with Chesapeake Bay senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) to express support for the RCCP.