As we begin a new week, there is still no movement on passing a new Farm Bill in the House. A discharge petition that would force the House leadership to bring the Farm Bill to the floor for action has been introduced. Indiana Congressman Joe Donnelly and a bi-partisan group of farm state lawmakers have sign on. But only a few days remain for the House to act. “Farmers can’t wait for Washington to finish playing partisan games,” said Donnelly. “Indiana families and communities are still reeling from this year’s record drought, and they need the certainty of a full five-year farm bill.” Currently, 51 representatives have now signed the discharge petition initiated by Iowa Representative Bruce Braley last week.
Gene Schmidt, Indiana farmer and president of the National Association of Conservation Districts, told HAT that funding for conservation will be reduced unless action is taken now on the Farm Bill, “If we have a 1 year extension or even just a disaster assistance bill, conservation funding will take a real hit.” Schmidt, who was in Washington last week for the Farm Bill Now rally, said both the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill have good soil conservation language, “When we look at both the House and Senate proposals, there are some differences; but all in all they are pretty equitable across the board.” He feels the program consolidation and budget savings puts conservation about where they expected it to be.
While Schmidt remains optimistic a new Farm Bill can be passed quickly, many of the lawmakers he met with last week do not see it as a priority, “I just hope they can begin to look at this from a business aspect and see that all of agriculture needs the certainty a Farm Bill would provide. If they were truly concerned about the security of America to produce food, fiber, and fuel, they would pass a Farm Bill now.”
The Indiana Soybean Alliance sent out an action alert to it members on Friday urging them to contact lawmakers to press for action on the Farm Bill, “This action is critical because the House of Representatives is only is session for FOUR more days until farm programs begin to expire from the 2008 Farm Bill.” American Soybean Association President Steve Wellman, a soybean farmer from Syracuse, NE, issued the following statement: “With the House of Representatives in session for only four days until farm programs established in the 2008 Farm Bill begin to expire, we are at a point where the need for congressional action on the new farm bill is at a critical stage. This is important legislation should not be subject to partisan politics. It affects the livelihood of the 21,000 farmer members of the American Soybean Association, more than 600,000 soybean farmers nationwide, more than 2 million Americans working in agriculture, and the 23 million American jobs that depend on our industry.”
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