Former Senate Ag Chair Addresses Farm Bill

Lincoln says next farm bill could make statement for agriculture.

Published on: Mar 7, 2012

Former Arkansas Senator and chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee Blanche Lincoln, now serves as chair of Small Business for Sensible Regulations, a project of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, offers her take on the move toward a new farm bill.

Lincoln thinks Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is trying to move things forward for the farm bill, but says it won't be easy.

"The real job is going to be getting it up on the floor," Lincoln said. "I think after she finishes her hearings she is going to come out with probably her draft, and then have a markup in the committee where they actually produce legislation out of the Senate Ag Committee. I think her goal is to be in that part of the process in the next couple of months."

Lincoln thinks the farm bill could be brought to the floor by mid to late summer. However she says that time is the biggest issue when you're talking about the floor.

"There is only a limited amount of time on the floor and the majority leader has to deal with 99 other Senators that have things they want to bring up on the floor," Lincoln said. "You know they all want to get some of their work done and so it is just a matter of making sure they can schedule it. And then of course when they do start scheduling things there always the procedural shenanigans that go on."

The former Chairman of the Senate Ag Committee believes this next farm bill could make a statement for agriculture.

"This is where we have an opportunity to really say how are we going to support our agriculture producers because we've got to keep them in production," Lincoln said. "If anybody looks at the statistics of where we are going globally, the population growth that is going to happen in the next four decades is phenomenal. I mean we are going to have to increase agricultural production by 70% to be able to feed the globe by 2050."