The lack of a farm bill has been frustrating and that was evident in the nation’s corn and soybean leaders’ comments to fellow growers during the just-concluded Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois. Both NCGA president Pam Johnson and ASA president Danny Murphy spent 2 days at the show, right at one month from the expiration of the current 2008 farm bill extension.
“I guess the preference at this point would be for the House to go ahead and allow their conference committee to consider the Senate ag bill and just the House ag portion they passed,” he told HAT. “Evidently though they do want to take up the nutrition bill and they’re going to come back September the 9th. They won’t have very many days until the extension expires September 30th. That’s a really short time to get legislation done and then get that to conference and come back out of it. I guess it would really be optimistic to expect that they could get a farm bill completed by September 30th.”
But as Murphy points out, Congress can do a lot of things, and quickly, if they choose. Johnson is an Iowa farmer who is optimistic that there will be positive movement on the farm bill before the September 30th deadline.
“We expect there to be something done. We’ve been waiting a long time. We’ve been running out of patience. This isn’t going to get any easier, so I’m not going to speculate on exactly when the date is, but we really expect Congress to come back from that August recess with a renewed determination that they can do something and get it passed and get it through the final hurdle.”
Murphy, from Mississippi, adds that it is vital that the nutrition title remains in the farm bill.
“We’ve been in partnership with the nutrition community and the nutrition program for over 40 years and we think it needs to stay that way. With only one or two percent of the population actually involved in farming it would be really difficult to generate the interest and to move a farm bill forward alone over a period of years.”
He says that’s why it is critical to continue that partnership. Both leaders are still encouraging their tens of thousands of members to contact their congressional offices to voice their opinion.