With just a few days of floor time left in the year, a coalition of 235 ag groups called on Congress this week to pass a new farm bill, while the American Farm Bureau Federation reminded legislators about pending Russia trade approval.
Farm Bill takes center stage
"This legislation is of paramount importance to the diverse, bipartisan constituencies our organizations represent," the coalition wrote in its letter to Reps. John Boehner, R-Ohio, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
"Failure to pass a new five-year farm bill before the year's end will create significant budget uncertainty for the entire agricultural sector, including the rural businesses and lenders whose livelihoods are dependent upon farmers' and livestock producers' economic viability," the groups wrote.
The groups also addressed the ongoing drought – the nation's largest since the 1930s – explaining that historic conditions and "damaging economic effects" cannot be ignored.
Those signing the letter included energy interests such as 25x'25 Alliance and the Ag Energy Coalition; broad ag groups, including the American Farmland Trust and National Farmers Union; and a host of specialty groups, like the U.S. Meat Export Federation and Pheasants Forever.
More than 40 conservation groups wrote a separate letter on Monday to Speaker of the House John Boehner, requesting immediate action on the bill.
"We believe a bill that takes on the best conservation provisions from the Senate-passed and House Committee-passed bills is quite possible to achieve even in the limited amount of time left in this session of Congress," the groups wrote. "The Senate and the House Agriculture Committee clearly agree on the value of the Conservation Title since their versions of the bill are substantially the same and have received strong bi-partisan support."