Reaction to the House passage of a standalone Farm Bill was quick and predictable. The American Soybean Association was relieved to see the House approve a Farm Bill, but President Danny Murphy said their approval of a partial bill will mean nothing if a bill doesn’t emerge from conference that both chambers will pass. ASA is calling on the House and Senate to work in a bipartisan manner to craft a conference bill that can pass both chambers and be signed by President Obama before existing authorities expire on September 30th. Murphy said ASA is opposed to the replacement of permanent law by whatever legislation may result from this process. By only making Title I of a new farm bill permanent, he noted other titles including conservation, research, energy and trade would risk not being reauthorized when the bill expires after five years. Murphy said the group is also concerned that Title I of a new bill could include provisions that would distort plantings and production in years of low prices and that it would be extremely difficult to change these provisions if the legislation were made permanent.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Scott George called the separation of the nutrition title from the farm bill an unprecedented step, but was pleased to see cattlemen and women a step closer to final legislation that provides certainty for producers and incorporates priorities important to the cattle industry. George said NCBA is pleased that the legislation includes disaster programs, authorizes conservation programs important to cattle producers, and contains language to prevent USDA from moving forward on the proposed GIPSA rule from the 2008 Farm Bill. George said there are also important amendments included which rein in the Environmental Protection Agency. He said the amendments provide regulatory relief to cattle producers, prevent EPA from releasing personal producer information to third parties, and prohibit EPA from regulating forest roads under the Clean Water Act.
Based on the unprecedented action of the House, National Association of Conservation Districts President Earl Garber says his group is hopeful the Farm Bill process will move forward. Garber urged the House and Senate to come together to find a common ground that will benefit the future of our natural resource base. He said the nation’s farmers and landowners deserve to have long-term certainty to effectively and efficiently manage their land, resources, and businesses for the years ahead.
A statement from National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President Bing Von Bergen, a wheat farmer from Moccasin, MT said, “I was pleased to see the House approve moments ago farm, conservation, research, trade promotion and energy measures as part of a revised farm bill product. Splitting the agriculture and nutrition portions of the traditional farm law is a concern of ours. At the same time, we are pleased the House can now move to a conference process with the Senate and work toward a product that can be approved by both chambers and President Obama before the current farm bill extension expires. The situation this legislation is in is no one’s ideal scenario. However, we have faith our ag leaders will continue their diligent efforts to get in place the safety net our farmers and all consumers need, and we stand ready to help them do so.”
NPPC CEO Neil Dierks said, in a statement, while removing the nutrition title is an unorthodox approach, NPPC and its affiliates support it if it leads to passage of a new Farm Bill, which is imperative to America’s pork producers.
While the debate was raging in the House, Chuck Conner, with the National Association of Farmer Cooperatives, released a statement in support of House passage: “The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) urges support for the farm bill being considered on the House floor today. We remain committed to working with Congress to pass a new, comprehensive five-year farm bill and the legislation on the floor today is a critical step forward in achieving this goal.”
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued a statement following passage of H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, “Today’s strictly partisan vote to pass the farm bill apart from the nutrition title undermines the long-time coalition of support for a unified, comprehensive farm bill which has historically been written on a bipartisan basis. NFU will continue to do all it can to get a reasonable bill through the conference process. Any final legislation must continue existing permanent law provisions and include meaningful safety net protections for both family farmers facing difficult times and the food insecure.”