American Farm Bureau Federation President, Zippy Duvall, says that the Department of Agriculture’s farm bill principles “roadmap” released by Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday, “is a good one for farmers, ranchers and rural communities.” The roadmap serves as a framework for a new bill, but with ideas in line with ag lawmakers, boosting chances of completing a new bill on time.
Farm Bureau public policy executive director Dale Moore sees the Ag Secretary’s farm bill principles as a welcome starting point for a 2018 bill. “It clearly is a framework. Secretary Perdue is clearly ready to be a partner, to be a helper, to be a resource to the House and Senate ag committees as they move forward in writing their farm bill.”
But, Moore says it’s also a strategic move by Perdue. “The Secretary is positioning himself to make sure that Chairman (Pat) Roberts (R- KS) in the Senate and Chairman (Michael) Conaway (R-TX) in the house and their respective committees know that he is ready to go to work with them to write the new farm bill. I think that’s a very smart and very strategic way to approach this.
Moore says ultimately, it’s Congress that writes farm law, but he agrees Secretary Perdue and Ag lawmakers already have much farm policy in common from conservation to crop insurance. “Helping farmers deal with Mother Nature and weather risk, as well as market risk. Encouraging new and beginning farmers, returning veterans, limited resource farmers, etcetera, to make sure that they have a way to get in whether you’re talking trade, rural development, or marketing.”
Moore says there will still be farm bill differences. The president will release his budget request next month. His last one would have cut crop insurance. Yet Moore is optimistic. “This kind of document ups my confidence that we’re going to see this farm bill get done in a very timely fashion. I’m not going to be a bit surprised if it’s done before we get to the September 30 deadline.”
Sources: AFBF and NAFB News Service