A long list of farm, banking, and conservation groups on Monday, Aug. 13, sent a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees asking them to pass the farm bill before Sept. 30 when the current bill expires.
In the letter, the groups said, “Americans must have a five-year farm bill ahead of the Sept. 30 expiration of the Agricultural Act of 2014. We urge you to quickly reconcile the bills’ differences and pass a conference report so that it can be enacted into law.”
They continued, “As you well know, the farm and rural economy is under significant financial stress. Net farm income has been cut in half since the 2014 Farm Bill. Farmers and ranchers and the rural communities and agribusinesses that depend on agricultural production need a strong and predictable safety net that includes important risk management tools such as crop insurance to weather these difficult economic times. They cannot afford a short-term extension.”
The letter pointed out that “Low-income Americans rely on a number of vital nutrition programs authorized through the farm bill. While the overall economy has improved, and participation has dropped, the need remains significant. We urge the committees to work together to meet the needs of this important population.”
The groups also said that farmers want to “build” on the accomplishments of conservation programs in the past and noted that “the expansive nature of the farm bill touches a host of other priorities including beginning farmers, credit, organics, trade promotion, horticulture, research, food aid, forestry, bioenergy, regulatory certainty, and others.”
The letter was released by the American Bankers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the National Farmers Union.
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN-07) said recently that the farm bill will be done by Sept. 30, the Red River Farm Network also reported.
Peterson said, “We had a face-to-face meeting before we left, and we’ve had two conference calls. We’re going to have another one this week and we’re going to get together again Aug. 27 and we have our staff working on all of the titles. We’re all committed to getting this thing done by Sept. 30.” — Jerry Hagstrom, DTN