Farm Bill Status Update and News for August 2012
Recently we posted a comprehensive update about the current situation with the stalled farm bill at http://www.beginningfarmers.org/farm-bill-congress-fails-to-act-next-steps/. What follows are links to three articles passed along by the National Farmers Union that provide an update with more information and other regional perspectives. Passage of a new farm bill as soon as possible is in the interest of almost everyone connected to or concerned about agriculture. So knowing as much about the process and how we can help move it forward is important. Please use these links and the previous article to learn more about the process as well as how you can help encourage legislators to move it forward. The full Senate passed it’s version of the bill months ago, but Leaders in the House have failed to bring the version passed by it’s Ag. Committee to the floor for a vote. Individual calls, emails, letters etc. can have a lot of influence as we near the 2012 elections. So please act!
1. Uncertainty over farm bill concerns farm leaders: According to The Jamestown Sun Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota says “We believe if it goes to a vote in the House, it will pass with a solid majority”. Getting the bill to the floor is the major challenge since House leaders seem reluctant to bring the draft bill (passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by the House Agriculture Committee) up for a vote. The House will only be in session for 8 days in September, and action is imperative during this period if a new farm bill is to be passed before the current bill expires on September 30th. According to this article “[Senator] Conrad speculates the chances of passing a bill decline as time progresses.”
2. Partisan politics seep into popular Farm Bill: According to The Greenbay Press Gazette: “Traditionally, the legislation does not see many roadblocks, because there’s often something in it for everyone”, but partisan politics have slipped into the equation for reasons explained here and in the beginningfarmers.org post mentioned previously. The article goes on to say that “The bill — nearly a trillion dollars in spending over the next decade — extends far beyond agriculture, with nearly 80 percent, or $768.2 billion between 2013-2022, of spending going toward funding food assistance for low-income Americans. The farm bill also funds school lunches, conservation and forestry programs”.
3. Push resumes on stalled farm bill: According to The Rutland Herald, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan has said that disagreement over funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), “has just derailed deliberations in the House”. And that “while they have a bipartisan committee that passed the bill, the leadership is stalling in terms of bringing the bill to the floor”.
To learn more about farm, food and agricultural policy, please visit http://www.beginningfarmers.org/farm-policy-agricultural-politics/