Early today, Republicans pushed their farm bill through the House Ag Committee after a rancorous debate that lasted more than 13 hours. In the end, the GOP won four crucial Democratic votes that ensure Republicans can now sell the bill as bipartisan.

House Ag Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., told Agri-Pulse after the vote that he didn’t know if he would have any Democratic support for the bill until the final tally – much less four votes. The four Democrats were Don Davis of North Carolina, Yadira Caraveo of Colorado, Eric Sorensen of Illinois and Sanford Bishop of Georgia.

Keep in mind: The bill’s ultimate fate remains in doubt. The earliest Thompson says he could get the bill on the House floor is September, but he says the legislation should at least help lawmakers who are in tough re-election races. “I think there are a lot of members, beyond the members on this committee, that would like to be able to campaign the last 30 days” on the farm bill, he said.

Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., hasn’t scheduled any action on a farm bill in her committee. The top Republican on the panel, John Boozman of Arkansas, is expected to release a proposal similar to the House Ag bill after the upcoming Memorial Day recess.  

Stabenow issued a statement after the House Ag vote saying, “Despite areas of common ground, it is now clear that key parts of the House bill split the farm bill coalition in a way that makes it impossible to achieve the votes to become law.  And it is also clear that we do not have time to waste on proposals that cannot meet that goal.”

Read our full report on the committee’s markup here.

Mid-debate, groups clarify positions on farm bill

The breadth of support for House Ag farm bill was subject to a bit of exaggeration during the committee’s debate.

At one point, Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., read off a list of groups that “organized or endorsed” the legislation, as publicized by House Republicans in a press release on Tuesday.

One of the groups Bacon mentioned, however, the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, asked reporters to be precise in describing its position, which did not constitute an endorsement. Another group he mentioned, the National Farmers Union also took note, saying it had not endorsed the bill. And the Environmental Defense Fund, a founding member of FACA, said Bacon had been “incorrect” in saying FACA backed the bill and noted EDF opposes it.

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In the statement it re-sent to reporters during the markup, FACA – founded by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy – said it “welcomes the release” of the bill, but added, “One of FACA’s core principles is bipartisanship, and we urge Chairman Thompson and Ranking Member Scott, as well as Senate Agriculture Committee leadership, to find common ground and finalize a bipartisan farm bill by the end of the year.”

The National Farmers Union also issued a statement making clear that it had not endorsed the bill either.

Some salty language at committee markup

House Ag members didn’t mince words while discussing the farm bill legislation proposed by Chairman Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.

Florida Republican Kat Cammack found inspiration in the barnyard in criticizing Democrats’ complaints that their priorities are not addressed in the bill. She said the bill’s base text “includes over 40 Democrat-led initiatives.”

“To say that this is not a bipartisan bill when you know full well that this bill includes your requested priorities, well, back home we call that, chickenshit,” Cammack said.

Earlier, Rep. Jim McGovern, one of the most outspoken Democrats on the committee, said the bill is “a win for people with luxury beachfront properties and fancy high-rise apartments who make their money screwing over our family farmers. That's who benefits most from this bill, the rich and the powerful, and it's a damn shame.”

He said the bill has no chance of becoming law, adding that when it goes to the “looney tunes” on the House Rules Committee, “This awful bill will become awful-er.”

And, yes, a term for cattle manure also was used during the debate.

Bird flu activists interrupt proceedings

Activists opposed to federal funding for poultry producers to destroy their bird flu-infected flocks interrupted Thursday’s proceedings.

It was just the latest event they attended to criticize what they call the “bird flu bailout.” The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has spent more than $1 billion to compensate producers since 2022.

They also appeared at the Food Safety Summit in Chicago recently and before that, at USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum, where they were escorted out after interrupting Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.

ITC advances 2,4-D investigation

The International Trade Commission has advanced an investigation into whether low-priced imports of 2,4-D from China and India have harmed Corteva Agriscience.

The ITC has concluded “there is a reasonable indication that an industry in the United States is materially injured” by the imports, the commission says in a Federal Register notice published today.

As a result of the commission’s decision to move forward, the Commerce Department will continue its investigations of imports of 2,4-D from China and India, with its preliminary countervailing duty determinations due on or about June 27, and its preliminary antidumping duty determinations due on or about Sept. 10.

He said it. "This is a very important first step. And I think it's important to try and to signal that it is important for us to get to a strong, bipartisan farm bill. That's what the American people deserve." – North Carolina Rep. Don Davis, one of the four Democratic votes for the House Ag farm bill.

Questions, comments, tips? Email steve@agri-pulse.com.