Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Farm Bill Extended Until April 18

Ag Sec ConnerFarm Bill talk is always an interesting discussion. I’ve received some phone calls and emails from Missouri farmers asking about “where we are on the Farm Bill and how it will affect them.” Well, it seems like the Farm Bill should be finalized by now, but unfortunately it’s not.

The Farm Bill was extended again from March 15 until April 18 for more discussion between the Bush Administration and leadership from the Agriculture, Finance, Budget, and Ways and Means Committees figure out how the Farm Bill is to be funded, which programs will receive funding, and which committees in Congress have jurisdiction.

Many farmers and consumers stand to benefit from new farm bill policies that advance local food systems, organics, the environment, nutrition assistance, specialty crops, and beginning and socially disadvantaged producers. These programs are worth hundreds of millions and, in some cases, billions of dollars each year. They represent small, distinct wins that would be squandered if the 2002 bill is extended or the new bill is vetoed.

I’ve been saying this for awhile now, but if you want support of a specific program it’s time to get on the phone and call your Senator and tell them (your needs as producers). Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

(PHOTO-Acting Secretary, Chuck Conner, speaks to and answers questions from the media at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in Kansas City, Missouri on 14 November . )

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