D.C. ag leaders are getting a bit more specific about timing of the next farm bill.
“In terms of votes, I suspect we’re looking at the summer, end of spring, somewhere towards the beginning of summer,” says Congressman Glenn GT Thompson, chairman of the House Ag Committee, on when he expects a mark-up of a new farm bill with the current one expiring at the end of September.
That timing lines up with when the GOP-White House fight over the debt ceiling and budget cuts must be resolved or the US will default.
Thompson says the country needs to get its “fiscal house in order,” but not on the backs of producers using just 2-percent of federal spending worth trillions in GDP and millions of jobs. But Thompson concedes, the danger of a delayed farm bill is real.
“There are really only three-options for the farm bill, you let it expire, well that reverts back to ‘dust bowl’ era language—that hurts every American farmer and every American family. That is not an option. Number two, we can do an extension, and like an NFL referee, I’ll keep that yellow flag in my pocket.”
The third option, obviously, is to get it done.
In the Senate, Democrats and Republicans agree that the farm bill needs to be robust, but they disagree on the priorities. Republicans argue that production agriculture is losing ground to nutrition funding while Democrats charge that Republicans are just looking to cut SNAP funding.
“I can’t give you the month, but I really feel very strongly we’re going to get it done this year,” Ranking Member of the Senate Ag Committee John Boozman says of the timing. “I was in the House for nine-years, I’ve got lots of friends over there that are kind of, running the place now on both sides—there seems to be a real commitment. Don’t know how we’re going to get it done, but this is true of all farm bills.”
$867 million was budgeted for the existing farm bill. Projections for the new farm bill exceed $1.5 billion.
Source: NAFB News Service