WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. leaders and agriculture organizations expressed disappointment on Sept. 22 over the U.S. Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive, multi-year food, farm and jobs legislation before the current law expires on Sept. 30.
“U.S. agriculture is fighting to maintain the tremendous momentum it has built over the past three years, but with natural disasters and other external forces threatening livelihoods of our farmers and ranchers, certainty is more important than ever,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Americans deserve a food, farm and jobs bill that reforms the safety net for producers in times of need, promotes the bio-based economy, conserves our natural resources, strengthens rural communities, promotes job growth in rural America, and supports food assistance to low-income families.”
American Soybean Association President Steve Wellman, a soybean farmer from Syracuse, Nebraska, U.S., said Congress has let farmers down.
"It is a sad statement on the perceived lack of importance of rural America in Washington when a bipartisan bill that provides certainty for farmers, livestock disaster assistance, nutrition programs, crop insurance improvements, conservation of our natural resources and reduces our nation’s budget deficits is shelved in favor of scoring political points in an election year,” he said. "When members of Congress return after the election in November, the excuses and the foot-dragging must stop, and the House must dedicate itself to passing a new comprehensive five-year farm bill that provides farmers with the stability, security and certainty they need while doing agriculture’s part to contribute to deficit reduction. Anything less will be another failure by Washington on the part of American farmers."
National Association of Wheat Growers President Erik Younggren, a wheat and sugar beet farmer from Hallock, Minnesota, U.S., said as legislators return to their districts and ask to be re-elected, farmers need to ask why the bill failed to pass.
“As a farmer who grew up on the land I still farm, and as the leader of a national organization made up of men and women whose families are dedicated to their farm businesses, this development is both surreal and deeply unsettling,” he said. “We thank our agriculture leaders – Chairwoman Stabenow, Ranking Member Roberts, Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson – and many other faithful members who have worked hard to push the farm bill forward.
“We can only hope that House leaders have the will to bring forward the five-year reauthorization of the farm bill as the first item of business when they return in November and get done what should have been done long ago.”