Smith: The American Farm Bureau Federation is optimistic that a new farm bill will be in place by the end of 2018. Andrew Walmsley, AFBF director of congressional relations, says post-election comments by several leaders in both chambers of Congress, including the presumed incoming House Ag Committee Chair, Collin Peterson, are encouraging.
Walmsley: We had to get past the election to figure out a few issues outstanding. When members are back in town next week, all the work that committee staff have done to get us to this point, a few decisions can be made, and we can move pretty quickly.
Smith: Walmsley says Farm Bureau is hearing that farm bill negotiations are getting close to wrapping up. If negotiators can wrap up the few remaining challenges, Walmsley says there should be no problem passing the bill before the end of the year.
Walmsley: I think they’re still kind of working towards some challenges with budget on getting the best bill possible in the commodity title. Maybe a few outstanding issues in conservation, and then obviously nutrition, but I think the rest of the bill’s pretty close to being wrapped up.
Smith: Walmsley says if the farm bill doesn’t pass in the lame-duck session, waiting until 2019 means they would have to start the farm bill process over, which would be detrimental to agriculture. One thing Farm Bureau representatives are hearing from legislative leaders is that they are not considering a possible farm bill extension.
Walmsley: They are intending to get this done. That’s going to be key for farmers and ranchers, our grassroots members, making sure their member of Congress knows how important this is, that they need to be applying pressure to leadership to hopefully have a conference report and a vote here in the next couple of weeks to get this done.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.