Clements: The farm bill is closer to becoming reality following a bipartisan vote to approve the Senate legislation. Andrew Walmsley, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, says lawmakers are a step closer to finishing the farm bill on time.
Walmsley: Obviously this vote takes us one step closer to getting a farm bill on time. We were ecstatic when the House farm bill was finally passed. We now have the other peace of the puzzle with the Senate farm bill passage. So now, getting to conference to get a good bill for farmers and ranchers completed before the end of the year.
Clements: Walmsley says differences between the two bills and concerns Farm Bureau has should be ironed out in conference.
Walmsley: There’s things we like in both bills, there’s things that we wouldn’t like to see. But, we’re confident in the leadership of Chairman Conaway, Ranking Member Peterson, Chairman Roberts and Senator Stabenow, to work through those difference to put a good bill together for all Americans, making sure we’ve got good risk management programs, that we have some certainty for our farmers and ranchers who are out there battling in very uncertain times.
Clements: Walmsley says the current farm economy underscores the need for a timely completion of the farm bill.
Walmsley: When mother nature is your business partner, when we still see all the uncertainty out there when it comes to trade, one thing Washington can provide is a little certainty around a farm bill. And, there’s still more work to be done. Farmers and ranchers need to be engaged in the process, particularly those that have members that will be conferees to the conference report. We’re optimistic that we can work through the differences in the bill and get it done before current law expires.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.