Earlier this week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with the leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees to discuss the progress of the 2012 Farm Bill and the possibility of passing new farm legislation by the end of the year.
For the past several months, the farm bill has been mired in Washington gridlock. While the Senate passed a bipartisan version of the farm bill, as did the House Agriculture Committee, House GOP leadership refused to hold a vote until after the 2012 election. With most congressional attention focused on avoiding the fiscal cliff, some farmers are worried that the farm bill is going to remain on the backburner through the end of 2012.
While Secretary Vilsack remains confident of the bill’s chances in the House, and has pledged the support of the US Department of Agriculture to the bill’s passage, recently stating, “We’re committed in this department to getting a five-year bill,” there are troubling signs that there is no deal in the works. After the recent ag meeting, Republican and Democratic leaders declined to hold a joint press conference and instead issued vague statements about the importance of the farm bill with no specific timeline or plan for how to pass the vital bill.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer