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August 15, 2013

Bringing the Heat to the Farm Bill Debate

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

The Missouri state fair was the scene for efforts to put the heat on Congress to get on the stick and pass legislation important to U.S. agriculture. Sen. Roy Blunt, Rep. Vicky Hartzler and American Farm Bureau farm policy specialist Mary Kay Thatcher spoke in this story from AFBF’s Johnna Miller.
Miller:Missouri farmers used the setting of their state fair to put the heat on Congress to pass the farm bill and other legislation important to U.S. agriculture.
Blunt:It’s hard to predict anything in a Congress that has a hard time getting anything done, but I believe there is a broad-based understanding of how much we need to get the farm bill done in both the House and Senate.
Miller:Sen. Roy Blunt pointed out that the Senate has passed the farm bill; while the House has divided it into two parts, the farm provisions, which it has passed, and the nutrition provisions, which it hasn’t. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who is also a farmer, says she’s trying to help her colleagues understand the importance of the legislation.
Hartzler:It’s a national security issue to have a reliable food source here in America, so we’re never in a position like we were a few years ago having to be dependent on foreign countries for our energy. We don’t ever want to be dependent on foreign countries for our food. So it’s a national security issue that we make sure that American farmers are viable. And it’s also a good investment for American consumers and American taxpayers.
Miller:But with important issues piling up, American Farm Bureau farm policy specialist Mary Kay Thatcher says it will take extra work from farmers and ranchers to make sure the importance of the farm bill isn’t lost in the shuffle.
Thatcher:I think it’s real important that we get this done. It is a bill that does affect virtually every American, be it the food stamp provisions or some of the rural development programs, conservation programs and certainly things to help farmers and ranchers. So the message has to be strong across the country that we’ve got to get to Congress remind them how important it is that we have this done before the end of the year.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
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