1 month ago farmanddairy.com
Lawmakers say they are looking to bring stability to farm market
More than a year after the 2008 farm bill expired, a group of bipartisan House and Senate members finally sat down at the same table Oct. 30, to begin the process of conferencing a new five-year farm bill.
Members spent most of the opening session introducing themselves and praising each other for the opportunity to work across party lines for the good of farmers and the American people. And that’s the challenge at hand, as farmers and consumers demand action.
“It took us years to get here, but we are here,” said Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., who is chairman of the conference. “We can do it, we have to do it,” he said, adding, “let’s not take years to get it done.”
The sense of urgency was conveyed by most of the conferees, with some going as far as to say their own credibility in Washington depends on getting the farm bill done by year’s end.
The “process” has taken some confusing twists and turns, but basically, the 2008 farm bill was set to expire in October, 2012. The Senate passed a new farm bill in June, 2012 while the House failed to put their farm bill to a vote.
After the 2008 farm bill expired, and faced with price programs that could have reverted back to the 1940s, Congress approved a last-minute extension of the 2008 farm bill in the last days of 2012, to run through October of 2013.
The Senate passed its second full five-year farm bill in June of 2013, while the House farm bill failed later the same month. In July, the House took an unprecedented move and voted to split the farm bill from the nutrition title, ultimately approving farm and food bills in separate pieces.
And now, the conference committee is charged with one giant task: Bring it altogether.