The U.S. House approved what's called the Conference Report -- the farm bill negotiated by House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders -- Wednesday. If it were to pass the Senate, as is expected, the bill would head to President Obama’s desk.
In the Harvest Public Media network, that includes about 936,000 people in Missouri; 420,000 in Iowa; 2 million in Illinois; 179,000 in Nebraska, 507,000 in Colorado, 316,000 in Kansas; and 926,000 in Indiana.
If it seems like Congress just can’t get the farm bill done, well… that’s because it can’t.
All year long, Washington lawmakers have been saying they want to pass a full five-year farm bill. But even though leaders of the House-Senate conference committee say they are close, they have acknowledged it just won’t get done this year. They’re pushing it off until January.
Congress won’t pass a farm bill before early next year.
That was the message from Washington Tuesday, when the principal farm bill players emerged from negotiations and announced they won’t have a full bill ready before the House adjourns for the year on Friday.
This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which we talk about important issues related to food production.
Thanks to tight competition, hog farmers all over the country are feeling a push to expand or get out of the business. That means indoor confined animal feeding operations – or CAFOs – are growing even in the most environmentally sensitive areas.
With Congress in its August recess, the farm bill is stalled and many are pessimistic about getting a new bill passed before the current extension expires on Sept. 30. Still, farm country legislators aren’t exactly giving up hope.
Republican Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock was asked about the farm bill at a town hall style meeting in in his district this week. He said that he thinks the most likely outcome is that the House will pass a “food stamp bill,” to go along with a agriculture portion it passed in June. That could put the farm bill back on track.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is continuing to push Congress to send a farm bill to President Obama’s desk. And he says dwindling farmer numbers mean coupling agricultural policy with nutrition programs is essential.