American Soybean Association (ASA) President Steve Wellman and Vice President Richard Wilkins joined fellow farmer-leaders from the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Milk Producers Federation, National Corn Growers Association and the National Association of Wheat Growers in a meeting Wednesday with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to reiterate the critical importance of finishing a new, five-year farm bill before the 112th Congress adjourns.
“We appreciate the opportunity to meet with Minority Whip Hoyer and his staff today. It is imperative that the Minority Whip and all of the House leadership understand the importance of passing a new farm bill to provide certainty for farmers heading into 2013. The bill represents a good-faith investment in an agriculture industry that has been one of the bright spots in the American economy,” said Wellman, a farmer from Syracuse, Neb., who grows soybeans, corn, wheat, alfalfa and raises cattle. “It is critical that we sustain that progress, and ASA and our colleagues in the farm community are committed to working together to do so. We have come to the bargaining table with concrete spending reductions, and remain the only industry that has done so. We are, as we have been, open to compromise, provided that the end product is a new, five-year farm bill that enables America’s farmers to continue producing the safest and most abundant food supply in the world.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have both given commitments to address the farm bill in the lame duck session, however any effort appears to be delayed as the House remains divided in discussions on the fiscal cliff.
“We hope that, as Congress tackles the fiscal cliff, the farm bill will be resolved as well, but we would remind our elected representatives that the issues we tackle as farmers can’t be solved by political posturing or placing blame,” added Wilkins, who grows soybeans, corn, wheat, barley, vegetables, hay and raises cattle in Greenwood, Del. “We face real challenges every day, and we need real solutions in place to manage risk, protect resources, encourage conservation, foster research and innovation, and grow our market opportunities. The farm bill holds solutions in each of these areas, and we encourage the House to get to work immediately to pass this bill.”
ASA says they’ll continue to meet with congressional leaders to encourage passage of a new, five-year farm bill between now and the adjournment of the 112th Congress.