Clements: Farmers and ranchers need the certainty of a farm bill, but Congress has yet to reach an agreement, and the current farm bill just expired. However, Andrew Walmsley, American Farm Bureau Federation congressional relations director, says lawmakers are making progress towards finishing the farm bill this year.
Walmsley: Obviously its not ideal that we blew past the September 30th deadline without having a new farm bill, but it isn’t necessarily the end of the world. The good news is that I think a lot of progress has been made on hopefully getting the 2018 farm bill done in the upcoming weeks.
Clements: Walmsley says the farm bill needs to be finished by the end of the year before farmers feel any impacts.
Walmsley: Commodity programs at least through the marketing year will continue on, crop insurance is permanently authorized, nutrition programs will continue to go forward. It’s not really until we get to January 1 where we could start seeing impacts to dairy. So, there’s a lot of work by staff and by the four principals to try to get a farm bill done, at least in agreement and going through the paperwork in the next few weeks so we can quickly get it back through both chambers of Congress after the midterms.
Clements: He says farmers and ranchers can help by talking with lawmakers about the need to finish the farm bill.
Walmsley: I know it’s harvest, but if they get an opportunity to see a member of Congress or attend a campaign event, they need to asking the question, “What are you doing to help get a farm bill done?” We need to get a bill done and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t here in the next few weeks.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.