The debate that preceded the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill was the most contentious in recent history. In a video article on From The Ground Up on KBTX, the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture had this to say …
“The last time we did a farm bill in 2014 our production agriculture industry was having really good times. Commodity prices were good. People were doing really well, and it was hard to make the argument to the skeptics as to why you needed that safety net,” said Mike Conaway, U.S. Congressman, Texas’ 11th Congressional District, and Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture.
A Safety Net for Times like These
“Well, in 2018, I don’t think that’s going to be the case. We’ve already experienced a 42% drop in production farm income. That’s not going to get any better the next two crop years, so when we’re writing the 2018 Farm Bill, I will have the backdrop of the carnage that is the production agriculture economics, to say here’s why we need to keep these folks in business. This is why you have a safety net for times like these. It’s not for the 2013 or 2014 time frame. It’s for times like this.”
Chairman Conaway stated that some of his congressional colleagues don’t fully understand the “relationship between what they do with the Farm Bill and the prices their constituents pay at the grocery store”.
No interest in Splitting Nutrition Title From Farm Bill
Passing a Farm Bill is never easy. But, given the current economic straits agriculture finds itself in Chairman Conaway has expressed interest in finding a path of least resistance for farm bill passage. Many national agricultural organizations agree including South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke who says “It would be unwise to split the farm bill because urban backing is needed for its passage.”44
Chuck Conner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC), a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing the interests of U.S. agricultural cooperatives agrees. During a forum on the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill sponsored by Farm Foundation Conner said, “Farm groups in Washington have already begun a lot of preparation for the next Farm Bill…and several common themes were heard in these types of informal discussions. It was very clear from these stakeholder discussions that the agriculture community as a whole has little interest in slogging through another Farm Bill debate without working closely with our colleagues in the nutrition community.”
History in the Making
The 2018 Farm Bill will be the first developed in a Republican-controlled U.S. House, U.S. Senate and the White House since the 83rd Congress (1953-55). In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the Agricultural Act of 1954 (P.L. 83-690). Eisenhower also signed the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 (Pub.L. 83–480). Additional information and its relevance to our current political situation can be obtained at:
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, November 11, 2016. Coppess, J., C. Zulauf, G. Schnitkey, and N. Paulson. “Early Thoughts: 2016 Election Results and the Next Farm Bill.” farmdoc daily(6):214, Permalink: http://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2016/11/early-thoughts-2016-election-results-farm-bill.html
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