Again this year as the nation’s farm broadcasting industry spoke with national commodity organization leaders in Kansas City, hope for a new farm bill was part of the conversation. Will it finally happen before the end of this year? The president-elect of the American Soybean Association, Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser told HAT they’re certainly more hopeful than just a few weeks ago.
“We are encouraged that there have been discussions with Senator Stabenow and Senator Cochran meeting with their counterparts in the House, Congressmen Lucas and Peterson. So we are really encouraged that discussion is finally happening and that they’re trying to find ways to merge the two bills together and come to an agreement. So there is more hope than there has been for the last 3 years that I’ve been on the ASA farm bill task force, so we are hopeful. Our farmers really need that certainty and our consumers really need that certainty.”
He said the certainty farmers need includes research, and ASA says that component is especially important to their organization and consumers.
“That research provides assurances to our citizens that we’re providing a healthy product for them and that they’re going to have food to eat on the table and that farmers will be successful.”
Gaesser says unlike some who have proposed separating the SNAP or food stamps from farm programs, ASA wants them to remain linked.
“It’s a logical place to put it but it also gives farmers an avenue to encourage our congressmen and senators to address the new farm bill in the next five years when it comes up again. It’s that encouragement that we need and that participation for SNAP feeding the nutrition to the people that really need help here in the United States.”
ASA is more confident now than it had been that food stamps will stay in the farm bill.
“We’re more confident than we had been,” Gaesser said. “There was some concern a couple of months ago that it may be removed, but we believe that it will stay in the farm bill and we believe it’s the right place.”