Leaders of the Farm Bureau Federation are ratcheting up the pressure on Congress, particularly on the House of Representatives, to guarantee that a new farm bill is passed before the end of September.
The congressional efforts to replace the current farm bill have been unusually contentious. Partly due to a heated presidential election and partly due to an unusually rancorous climate in Congress, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been remarkably unwilling to work together for the good of the agricultural sector.
After months of debate and political stalling, a farm bill has passed the Senate Agriculture Committee, where it awaits debate and approval by the full 100 member Senate. The House of Representatives, on the other hand, is so concerned with trimming the federal budget deficit (including the elimination of billions of dollars of additional farm spending), that it may be difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile a new bill between both houses within the next four months.
The Farm Bureau, however, is not content to sit out of the political fight, and recently organized a trip to Washington to lobby politicians. The agricultural laws and regulations currently being debated could determine the economic future of farms across the country, making it critical that farm leaders pressure Congress to take action. “Farmers are once again starting to feel the pinch of worker shortages,” said Rayne Pegg, California Farm Bureau Federation National Affairs Division manager. “The trip served as a reminder to Congress that we can’t afford another year of no action.”
“The Farm Bureau trip to Washington is an opportunity for congressional members to meet the farmers and ranchers who have to live with the laws they make every day,” Pegg said. “It’s easy to forget the impact a law has once it’s implemented on the ground. Growers are living it every day.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer