With the lights back on at USDA offices and previously furloughed federal workers on the clock, farm groups are ready for legislators to get back in the farm bill saddle now that funding measures are off the table.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said the end of the shutdown was promising for farmers, who have both been without "critical services for far too long." Also promising was President Obama's Thursday morning mention of finishing a farm bill during his national address, Johnson said.
"Now that conferees have been named, it is time for the committee to get down to business and take action to bring certainty to our family farmers, ranchers, fishermen, rural residents and hungry neighbors," he said, noting that his organization will urge lawmakers to avoid repealing permanent law.
President Obama, while short in his comments, called for "long-term certainty" for farmers and ranchers through a five-year farm bill.
The President also singled out House Republicans, noting, "If House Republicans have ideas that they think would improve the farm bill, let's see them. Let's negotiate. What are we waiting for? Let's get this done."
The House Committee on Agriculture fired back a statement following the speech, pointing out that they are making some progress – the House last Friday named conferees to hash out a final bill with the Senate, and expect the first formal meeting is when the House and Senate are in session together.
Ethanol groups want answers on leaked EPA docs
Also a delayed reaction following the return from shutdown, ethanol group Growth Energy suggested that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission follow up on Environmental Protection Agency documents that were leaked last week. The documents suggested that Renewable Fuel Standard volumes would be drastically reduced next year.