The 2012 farm bill is still moving forward in the Senate, but not as fast as the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry had hoped. Leaders of this Committee are looking for a floor vote this week, but it is not yet known whether this will happen. They have yet to reach a deal on how to move forward with amendments to the bill, and which ones will be debated on the floor. The ANF Committee is hoping that a deal on amendments will be reached early this week. For recent updates on the farm bill and how it may affect beginning farmers see: http://www.beginningfarmers.org/senate-farm-bill-debate-may-leave-out-beginning-farmer-programs/ and http://www.beginningfarmers.org/farm-bill-update-from-the-national-farmers-union-june-6th-2012/
The fact that the process has bogged down may be good or bad, depending on your priorities and opinions about what a new farm bill will mean, whether you take advantage of farm bill programs, and whether you support the proposed bill as it has come out of the ANF Committee and/or proposed amendments to this bill (see the links above).
This means that your input is still very important, and Senators do tend to take comments from constituents seriously when they are given. The best way to do so is to contact your Senator, the best way to do so is to contact the Capitol Switchboard at Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senator – then once connected ask to speak to a staff member who works on agricultural issues. It’s best to have clear points that you would like to promote. To learn more about points to use in supporting beginning farmer programs go to: http://www.beginningfarmers.org/beginning-farmer-programs-farm-bill-legislative-update/
For an update on the possible scenarios regarding the Senate timeline for moving forward with a floor vote on the 2012 farm bill, see the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s latest blog post at: http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/farm-bill-hangs-in-balance/