Farm groups say farm bill passage should be first order of business after election
By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2012 - Farmers and ranchers want a new farm bill to be the first order of business when members of the U.S. House of Representatives return for a lame duck session on Nov. 13. The current farm bill expired Sept. 30 and a wide variety of farm groups are urging their members to “seek out their House members between now and the elections and remind them of the consequences of not having a new bill in place prior to adjournment at the end of the year.”
In a joint statement which summarized the potential impacts of congressional inaction, farm leaders also noted that, “While expiration of farm bill program authorities has little or no effect on some important programs, it has terminated a number of important programs and will very adversely affect many farmers and ranchers, as well as ongoing market development and conservation efforts.
The statement was signed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Pulse Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, National Sunflower Association, United Fresh Produce Association, USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, U.S. Canola Association, and Western Growers Association.
“Dairy is among the first sectors in agriculture to feel the impact of Congress’s inability to reach accord on most anything, including a new Farm Bill,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “Had the House leadership brought the bipartisan farm bill to the floor, I believe we could have passed a bill containing the Dairy Security Act. Instead, we are in uncharted waters, and one of our life rafts has disappeared.”
Dairy farmers continue to suffer from high feed costs, and the other program intended to serve as a safety net - the dairy product price support program - was created years before feed costs started to escalate, Kozak said.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., also released a statement calling for quick action on the stalled farm bill:
"As soon as Congress comes back, the Farm Bill needs to be a top priority in the House of Representatives. I hope that the House Republican leadership will devote the first day back to creating jobs in rural America and cities across the country. Farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and our entire economy will continue to be impacted every day they do not act."
For a copy of the joint statement, click here.
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