May 16, 2013

Farm Bill….now?

kelly brunkhorstBy Kelly Brunkhorst, director of research

Déjà vu…but let’s hope that this time we have a different ending.

Tuesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee marked up and passed their version of a 2013 Farm Bill. The bill will now head to the full Senate for debate that is expected to happen in the next couple of weeks.

Like the National Corn Growers Association on their statement following passage, we are pleased to see action being taken on a new Farm Bill. Although it will be a long process, a critical first step has been accomplished and awaits full Senate action, while in the House Agriculture Committee, they working on their version of a new 5-year Farm Bill.

Providing farmers with certainty was one of our key points this past year as we pressed hard for a Farm Bill Now. You can catch past blogs here, here and here. Ultimately we were disappointed when the full House did not take action on a Farm Bill, even though it had passed the House Agriculture Committee and we settled on a last minute extension of the current Farm Bill.

Additionally, just as import as domestic demand is international demand and providing certainty, yet again, for our cooperators such as the U.S Grains Council and U.S. Meat Export Federation who utilize Foreign Market Development and Market Access Program funds was critical. Both FMD and MAP funding are part of the Farm Bill.

So as the House Agriculture Committee works through advancing their version of the Farm Bill, our hope is that will happen swiftly and then action can be taken on both bills in their respective Senate and House chambers. Then eventually through conference to work out differences in a bipartisan fashion…an action that we hope will be different than last year.

UPDATE:  Late into the evening on Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee approved their version of new Farm Bill.  Our expectations are the full Senate will take action next week followed by the House in the early part of June.  

And through the entire process, your voice is important! Call your Representative and Senators and ask them to support a new five year Farm Bill that will provide you certainty on your operation.

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