Clements: The farm bill conference committee agreement in principle announced last week sets the farm bill up for passage by the end of the year. Andrew Walmsley, American Farm Bureau Federation congressional relations director, says lawmakers will consider final passage of the bill next week.
Walmsley: Last week we got the announcement that a tentative agreement was put in place. There was a thought that we could see action on the House or Senate floor this week. But, unfortunately, with the passing of President Bush, everything was kind of put on pause for folks to mourn here in Washington, but, give a little more time for the committees and the Congressional Budget Office to hopefully wrap this farm bill up and an opportunity for the House and Senate to consider it next week.
Clements: Walmsley says U.S. agriculture needs the stability a farm bill can provide.
Walmsley: You look at where conditions are in farm country, obviously still a lot of uncertainty with challenges with markets, challenges with Mother Nature, maybe a little bit of progress on the trade front over the past few days. But it would be nice to have a little more certainty of a five-year farm bill.
Clements: Walmsley says farmers and ranchers can help push the bill across the finish line.
Walmsley: Its critical to be reaching out to your member of Congress, letting them know how important it is to get this farm bill done. That average member of Congress needs that refresher that they’ve got a little bit of business to attend to before this lame-duck session ends, so let them know how important is for rural America to get this farm bill done this year.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.