Jessy Gill, Community Outreach Specialist
Farm Bill legislation is still pending as we approach the Fiscal Cliff. What we’re hearing from our DC partners is the likelihood of Congress passing a comprehensive extension is slim to none. The Farm Bill will likely be attached as a provision to another piece of legislation going through Congress before the New Year. It seems unlawful that a proposed $1 trillion piece of legislation can pass through attached to another piece of legislation, and yet it is the most probable path for the Farm Bill. It seems that a full Farm Bill extension would cost more than Congress is willing to allocate. In order to get the bill passed before the New Year, some of our representatives will have to waver on some negotiations they have stood strong against up until now, most notably arguments around the Commodities Title and the Nutrition Title (Read more from Healthy Farms Healthy People Coalition’s blog). Our concern is that the 37 programs that are critical to communities and farmers will not be funded if a Farm Bill provision is passed.
The Farm Bill standstill began when the Republican-led House refused to take negotiations to the floor back in September. The Senate passed the bill through both the Agriculture Committee and the full Senate in April and June respectively, and now Senator Tim Johnson is speaking up and asking the House to fold the Senate’s “strong bipartisan bill in any end-of-year package.” Johnson put out a press release last Thursday with a letter signed by 33 other Senators. Johnson stated in the press release: “The House has shown no interest in considering a farm bill on their own, so we need to find a way for them to act before the end of the year. South Dakota farmers and ranchers deserve the certainty of a five-year farm bill.” Here at CFJC we believe that everyone deserves the certainty of a five-year Farm Bill.
Read the full letter and press release on Senator Johnson’s website.