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Chairwoman Stabenow says members are committed to getting a farm bill finished

The Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Ag Committee says farmers need the certainty of a five-year farm bill.

Debbie Stabenow told reporters attending the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Washington Watch that negotiations have been stalled. She hopes the framework she released Wednesday helps restart progress on negotiations. “We’re doing this within the context of three major goals: keeping farmers farming, keeping families fed, and keeping rural communities strong,” she says.

She says the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act would strengthen crop insurance for all farmers. “It’s important for small farmers, for specialty crops, as well as large farmers in this area,” she says. Senator Hoeven and I have talked a lot about this. I want to make sure we’ve got our small and medium-sized farmers, as well as our large farmers, being able to access it.”

Stabenow says her bill increases funds for the farm safety net without taking money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. “We have been able to take what is a very solid commitment from Senate Leader Chuck Schumer to add $5 billion to the farm bill safety net and that is allowing us to be able to do additional things,” she says.

She says the framework for the 2024 Farm incorporates more than 100 bipartisan bills.

Ranking member John Boozman of Arkansas says the release of the majority’s framework was a welcome development and he remains optimistic that real progress on the farm bill can still happen in this Congress.  Boozman says Republicans will continue to solicit input from stakeholders as they consider the ideas in Stabenow’s bill alongside the Republican framework, which will be released after the House considers its bill in the coming weeks.

U.S. House Ag Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson released a summary of the House version of the farm bill on Wednesday. A public draft of the legislation is expected a week before the House Ag Committee’s markup of the new farm bill scheduled for May 23.

The National Association of Wheat Growers said progress on a long-term farm bill was welcomed news.  Keeff Felty, NAWG president, said the organization continues to advocate for a bill that works for wheat growers and rural communities. 

Ethan Lane with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the organization is pleased with the House Ag Committee’s version.  Lane says Chairman Thompson’s summary focuses on voluntary conservation programs, animal health provisions, and investments in food security that support broader national security.  Lane says the Senate Ag Committee’s framework released by Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow lacks producer input and includes many provisions that could be harmful to livestock producers.

  • As a matter of policy, Congress should pass a Farm Bill that incorporates logical bills to ensure safe and sustainable agriculture practices. Seems like the House version is reflective of programs supported by national associations representing the agriculture industry.

    Let’s hope the Senate restrains from overlaying major changes to what seems to be a well-thought out House version.

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