Coalition of 243 groups pushes Congress on farm bill
By Derrick Cain
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, July 18, 2013 - More than 240 groups from around the country urged Congress today to approve a “full and fair” farm bill this summer and “without further delay.”
The groups, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National Family Farm Coalition, represent an array of interests including agriculture, hunger, religious, and environmental.
The groups said such a farm bill must include farm, food and nutrition, conservation and rural economic development programs as well as commodity and crop insurance reforms.
“It must also provide renewed and enhanced funding for the now-stranded but critical subset of programs that assist the most chronically under-served segments of agriculture and our rural and urban communities,” the groups said.
The group urged the House and the Senate to immediately appoint conferees to work in an “open and urgent fashion” toward adopting a farm bill.
They said the bill should include all nutrition programs, while rejecting all cuts or changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that would increase hunger or reduce access to nutrition education for any of the 47 million Americans who currently rely on the program to meet basic food needs.
The House-passed bill does not include a nutrition title while the Senate bill proposes about $4 billion in cuts to the SNAP program.
Meanwhile, Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., continued to work Thursday “to get the bill moving as quickly as possible,” according to a congressional aide.
The two senators are working with Senate leadership in hopes for getting a unanimous consent agreement to move to conference with the House.
The group's full statement can be viewed here.
For more news, go to www.agri-pulse.com