The post-election “lame duck” session is now underway, and could run almost until Christmas, providing a good window for action on the Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill is the single most important piece of agricultural policy legislation and needs to be negotiated and approved by Congress every five years. Both the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee have approved versions of the Farm Bill that would eliminate direct payments to row crop producers, reduce spending on the food stamp program, and save over $30 billion dollars over ten years. Closer to home, both the Senate and House versions of the bill include solid funding for specialty crops, including nursery and floriculture. These funds support important infrastructure programs like pest prevention and research. All told, the four most important programs to our industry represent a nearly $2 billion investment in specialty crops.
The Senate passed its version of Farm Bill by a 64-35 vote last June, and the House Agriculture Committee approved its version of the bill last July by a vote of 35-11. The votes show considerable bipartisan support but the House leadership refrained from bringing a bill to the House floor for a vote prior to the November elections. Now that elections are over, it is time for Congress to act. Some in Congress might prefer kicking the can down the road by extending the Farm Bill for just one year. But even a simple extension would require major negotiations on expiring programs. A simple extension would also jeopardize continued funding of some important specialty crop programs like the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and the National Clean Plant Network.
It’s time for Congress to act by approving a full, five-year Farm Bill. The post-election “lame duck” session is now underway, and could run almost until Christmas, providing a good window for action. But Congress needs your encouragement! Please take action
by clicking this link and sending the prepared message to your two U.S. Senators and your Representative in the House.
Source: American Nursery and Landscape Association