Farmers rally for 'Farm Bill Now!'

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Washington, D.C.-- With Congress back on Capitol Hill for such a short time and the Sept. 30, expiration of the current farm bill looming, farmers, ranchers and a variety of supporters congregated in Washington on Wednesday.

The "Farm Bill Now!" rally drew hundreds of agriculture supporters from across the nation. The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union hosted the event.

“We are all united on one thing; we need a farm bill and we need a farm bill now,” Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said.

Joining the farmers and ranchers were participants from across the country, including congressional members and leaders from agriculture, conservation, energy, consumer and nutrition organizations. For a variety reason, not the least of which involves the nation's worst drought in five years, the rally goers want Congress to get focused and pass a new, comprehensive, five-year farm bill before the 2008 Farm Bill expires. While the House and Senate each have passed their versions, the divide between the two is large and election politics will likely stall progress.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, said the new farm bill is "stuck at the moment,"

“Perhaps never in the history of farm legislation have so many diverse farmer and rancher voices joined together for such a common call for action on a farm bill,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The farm bill isn't just a bill for farmers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one in every 12 American jobs relates directly back to the farm. Rally supporters are encouraging Congress to reach agreement on the House Agriculture Committee- and Senate-passed bills.

The event was endorsed by 88 organizations representing a broad range of commodity and specialty crops, livestock, dairy, state and local governments, energy and bio-based products, farm cooperatives and financial groups. However, the National Pork Producers Council was not among them. Instead, pork producers joined in Washington, D.C., for the bi-annual Legislative Action Conference to visit with their representatives and senators one-on-one.  

Congressional members who spoke at the event included Stabenow; Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., ranking member of the Agriculture Committee; and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D.


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MN  |  September, 13, 2012 at 04:04 PM

Am I the lone farmer (dairy) that sees nothing good in this farm bill? Fast-track GMO's, taxpayer-subsidized revenue insurance for dairy, this is insanity.

WI  |  September, 14, 2012 at 09:34 AM

You are not alone! I also think we all would be better off without the government programs. The government does not have any money without constantly printing more. When will this insanity end? It is time we are all weaned off of the government teat. Our so called farm leaders do not listen to us anymore. What are some farmers going to do when our government ends up like Greece?

New Waterford, Ohio  |  September, 14, 2012 at 01:31 PM

You are not alone...our nation is in bad need of overhauling. Our government is TOO BIG, TOO BAD and TOO UGLY...they can't control their own spending and financial worthiness...our Farm Bill is not 'our' farm bill it is a political mess. We are dairy farmers in Ohio struggling each month... five years ago, we were progressive, on task, paying our bills with small upgrades each year. We work hard to what?!? And yes, tax payer insurance revenue for dairy --- absurd! We will end up like Greece sooner than you think.

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