In response to the naming of conferees from the House of Representatives for negotiations on the Farm Bill today, the American Soybean Association (ASA) commended the Speaker and called on conferees from both the House and the Senate to cooperate and work quickly to come to terms on a comprehensive Farm Bill that can pass both chambers. “This has been a trying process, but we commend Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi for moving it along to the next stage. At this point, the necessary steps have been taken to bring all parties to the table, and now it’s time to set partisan divides aside and work together to craft a compromise that works for all farmers,” said ASA President Danny Murphy, a soybean, corn and wheat farmer from Canton, MS,
House conferees include House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and fellow Republican Reps. Steve King of Iowa, Randy Neugebauer of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama, Mike Conaway of Texas, Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania, Austin Scott of Georgia, Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Martha Roby of Alabama, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Jeff Denham of California, Rodney Davis of Illinois and non-committee members Steve Southerland of Florida, Ed Royce of California, Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, Dave Camp of Michigan, and Sam Johnson of Texas. Representing the House Democrats in conference will be Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Jim Costa of California, Tim Walz of Minnesota, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Suzan DelBene of Washington, Gloria Negrete McLeod of California, Filemon Vela of Texas and Marcia Fudge of Ohio. Non-committee Democrats include Reps. Eliot Engel of New York and Sandy Levin of Michigan.
The House contingent joins Senate conferees Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Max Baucus (D-MT), John Boozman (R-AR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Hoeven (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).
Murphy also called on the conferees to take into account recent input provided by ASA on several key issues, including the bill’s commodity, trade, and other titles. “ASA has given well-researched and well-documented feedback on multiple provisions in each chamber’s bill,” he said, “… and each input has been made with the end goal of protecting and advancing a dynamic soybean industry and a larger agriculture sector that has been among the brightest of bright spots as our economy continues to recover. Soy is the country’s largest farm export and second largest crop, and the policies established by the conference in the final bill must not lead to skewed planting decisions, production distortions and potential trade challenges.”
The conferees will now begin the process of combining the farm bills from the House and the Senate into one final bill, at which point both chambers must pass that version before it sees the President’s desk for signature. A one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill expired Sept. 30, and farm programs will revert to permanent laws from the late 1930s and 1940s if a solution is not reached by January 1.
Jim Mulhern, Chief Operating Officer of the National Milk Producers Federation, said dairy farmers are pleased progress on a new Farm Bill will resume, NMPF will be working in the coming days to remind both the Senate and House conferees of the importance of a balanced and cost-effective dairy program. The Senate’s bipartisan Dairy Security Act is the only program designed to both help farmers when they need it most, while also limiting taxpayers’ liability through its market stabilization mechanism. Without the market stabilization program, farmers will continue to suffer prolonged periods of poor margins, while taxpayers will subsidize artificially-low milk prices.”
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement: “I am pleased to see that the House has finally taken action that will move the Farm Bill closer to completion. There is a lot of work to be done and this is a long-awaited announcement.I hope the conferees will consider the needs of all family farmers, ranchers, consumers and hungry Americans throughout its deliberations, and ultimately present a five-year, comprehensive bill with an adequate safety net that can be supported by both houses of Congress and by the President for adoption before the end of the year.”