ASA: Protect Farm Bill From Partisan Politics

ASA President Steve Wellman says the discharge petition is needed to push the House to vote on the 2012 Farm Bill

Published on: Sep 14, 2012

In response to Thursday's introduction of a discharge petition by Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, American Soybean Association President Steve Wellman said he supports the measure, stressing that time is running out to pass a five-year farm bill.

"We are at a point where the need for congressional action on the new farm bill is at a critical stage," Wellman said. "This is important legislation should not be subject to partisan politics."

If a majority of House members sign the petition, it would force the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act to the House floor for a vote.

ASA President Steve Wellman says the discharge petition is needed to push the House to vote on the 2012 Farm Bill
ASA President Steve Wellman says the discharge petition is needed to push the House to vote on the 2012 Farm Bill

Wellman said that Rep. Braley's petition was an "unorthodox tactic," but his organization would support a measure that could get the bill on the floor.

"If it takes Congressman Braley's petition to make that happen, we're behind it, and we encourage every member of the House that has a stake in ensuring certainty for America's farmers to sign it," Wellman said.

At Wednesday's Farm Bill Now! rally in Washington, D.C., Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said there hasn't been a "groundswell" of support for the Farm Bill over the August recess. But Wellman says despite the so-called lack of interest, a Farm Bill is needed.

"Farmers have been told we haven't expressed enough concern about the lack of new farm legislation," Wellman said. "For weeks, we've been told there isn't enough time to pass the bill. We've been told that a one-year extension or a piecemeal disaster bill will cover our needs in the interim. Our clear reply to Congress is that the only acceptable outcome is a full, five-year farm bill passed through the House before Sept. 30."

Wellman said the bill will allow farmers to plan ahead.

"The bill provides risk management coverage for farmers for the next five years that simply will not be accomplished by a short-term extension. The bill also enables farmers to make planting decisions in the coming year and beyond with the knowledge of which farm programs will be in place," he said.

ASA represents more than 21,000 U.S. soybean farmers in 31 states.