An optimistic Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman met with farm broadcasters on Wednesday morning, the day after her committee passed a new farm bill called the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013. “This is the biggest jobs bill we will pass in any Congress,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “It’s time to get it done.”
Stabenow says the majority of the bill they passed out of committee is virtually the same as last year and she believes they addressed the concerns of southern producers. “I think we have a strong coalition and have really produced what I think my friends down the hall should just take as the commodity title,” she said.
The senator talked about the amount of savings in the bill, concerns about the nutrition title, what they did with cotton in the bill, and conservation compliance. Overall, Senator Stabenow is optimistic about getting a farm bill soon, and that combined with new immigration policy, will be a “positive one-two punch for producers.”[wpaudio url=”http://zimmcomm.biz/nafb/nafb-ww-13-stabenow.mp3″ text=”Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow”]
House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) met with the farm broadcasters just shortly before his committee began markup of their bill and said he was “as wound up as an 8 day clock” and expected it to be a long day but maybe not quite as long as last year’s 15 hour session. “But I would note that we had approximately 100 amendments a year ago, as of this morning we have approximately 100 amendments this time,” he said.
Lucas says the bill will go to the House floor this year “a dramatic improvement over a year ago” but he does expect it to be “a struggle we’re prepared to engage in and we’re prepared to move forward on.”
Chairman Lucas said it’s important to look long term in the farm bill. “Farm bills are not necessarily about this year or next year or year three,” he said. “Farm bills are about making provisions for year four or year five, when the wheels come off.”[wpaudio url=”http://zimmcomm.biz/nafb/nafb-ww-13-lucas.mp3″ text=”House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas”]