As the drought deepens, pressure is mounting for action from Washington. Indiana Congressman Joe Donnelly took to the House floor on Wednesday to call on lawmakers to take action on the Farm Bill, “Hoosier farmers are facing the worst drought conditions in decades. We cannot allow the inaction of Congress to make things even harder for the agriculture community. We need to pass a Farm Bill. At the very least, and especially in the wake of the severe drought, we must extend the 2008 Farm Bill disaster assistance programs for the 2012 crop year. Congress needs to act now in order to give farmers the certainty they need.”
Donnelly later told HAT by phone that there is strong bipartisan support to bring the Farm Bill to the floor for a vote, “This is a situation that is critical. We need to stand up for farmers and get this done.” With no indication that a vote will be coming soon, Donnelly is cosponsoring the Agriculture Disaster Assistance Act, H.R. 6167, which would extend agriculture disaster programs created in the last Farm Bill to cover crops grown in 2012. This legislation would help farmers and livestock producers address losses due to the drought until a new Farm Bill is signed into law by extending, through 2012, several agriculture disaster programs, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Disaster Forage Program (LFP), the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). The bill has over 90 co sponsors.
Donnelly called on House leaders to keep the House in session until the work is done, “Earlier this week, we quite work at 4pm; we should be working all night to get this finished.” He said there are currently only 13 legislative days scheduled between now and the end of September when the current farm Bill expires. Even after the House passes their version, it must go to a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills.
[audio:http://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/07/donallydroughtwrap.mp3|titles=Pressure Mounts for Action on Farm Bill]