The much talked about Farm Bill Now rally will take place in Washington, DC on Wednesday. While it will generate lots of rhetoric, will it bring about any action? In a rare showing of unity and activism, over 40 farm groups will hold a rally on the mall in Washington calling on the House to take action on a Farm Bill. While there will be lots of speakers, their message will be a simple one, “Pass a Farm Bill now!” That was the phrase repeated over and over by Senate Ag Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow who got a jump on the rhetoric by holding a press briefing on Tuesday. She told reporters that she believes there is support for a Farm Bill in the House, if the speaker will let it come to the floor, “I have talked with members of the House, and I believe there are enough votes to pass the bill.” House Speaker John Boehner has been quiet on why the House Ag Committee Farm Bill has not been brought to the floor for a vote.
With the current bill set to expire at the end of the month, time is running out; but the Michigan Democrat believes there is still time, if the House acts, “There is not a lot of difference between the bill we passed in the Senate and the one that is before the House.” The primary differences involve language in the commodity title and funding for the food and nutrition program, the latter being the main roadblock to House passage. Yet, Stabenow believes, if the House will pass a Farm Bill, a House/Senate conference committee can hammer out a compromise in short order.
The “Farm Bill Now!” rally, which will take place at Union Square in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pond, will feature members from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives addressing the crowd, as well as leaders from a broad range of farm, conservation, energy, consumer, and nutrition organizations. “Our coalition represents a broad cross-section of agriculture and is extraordinarily varied in its policy priorities,” said ASA President Steve Wellman, a soybean farmer from Syracuse, NE. “ASA and its coalition partners may differ on many of the individual aspects in various titles of the farm bill, but more important than that is our commitment first and foremost to getting a bill done. We will work with farmers, with our partner organizations, and with our representatives in Washington to get this job finished in the interest of providing America’s farmers with the security and certainty they need.” National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman will serve as a masters of ceremonies for the event.
Watch live coverage of the rally at