Let the Farm Bill games begin!
The Senate Ag Committee held the first of four scheduled farm bill hearings this past week, focusing on energy and rural development issues. In the coming weeks there will be hearings on conservation programs Feb. 28 and nutrition issues on March 14; and most importantly, a hearing on Title I – the farm safety net programs – is scheduled for March 21.
As the Senate began to prepare for the hearings, over 80 agricultural organizations sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Ag Committees urging passage of a farm bill this year.
“The 2012 farm bill is among the most important pieces of legislation the U.S. Congress will consider this year,” the letter stated. “We ask you to reject calls for delay and aggressively act to ensure that a new, comprehensive farm bill is passed this year. Farmers need a safety net that works more effectively, and they need access to tools that help them be good stewards of our natural resources.”
The letter also stated that a temporary extension of current policy would create uncertainty without addressing important issues such as job creation hunger prevention resources.
Major commodity, social welfare and environmental organizations from the American Farm Bureau Federation to the World Wildlife Fund signed on to the letter, indicating the diverse interests in the legislation for agriculture, food assistance and conservation.