House and Senate farm bill negotiators say they are close to a compromise on a final bill, but they won’t seal the deal before the current legislation expires on Sept. 30 and the House recesses for an extended break in the run-up to the midterm elections in November.
In a recent Zipline column, American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall explained that without a farm bill in place, farmers, already struggling with a sagging farm economy and uncertain trade situation, will soon face a new set of problems that comes with not knowing if the risk management programs they need to qualify for operating loans will be there.
“The sky won’t fall right away,” Duvall wrote. “The residual effects of programs that have been in place until now will keep working for a little while. But time will run out. And the longer it takes to get the new farm bill passed, the greater the harm to confidence in our farm economy. The proverbial runway is short—weeks at best.”
Over the past year, farmers and ranchers have delivered a strong message to Congress about the need for a farm bill—delivered on-time—that provides the programs and resources that agriculture relies so heavily on.
Though the House’s several-weeks-long recess means lawmakers won’t be in D.C. voting, it is an opportunity for farmers and ranchers to hold their members’ feet to the fire on the farm bill.
“We encourage you to call your district offices, or better yet, seek out your members in person, at campaign events and other activities, and ask them what they’re personally doing to get the farm bill over the finish line,” said Cody Lyon, managing director of advocacy and political affairs for AFBF.