Washington, D.C.-- With the expiration of the current farm bill quickly approaching, and in the midst of the worst drought in a generation, members of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), along with farmers and ranchers from across the nation, rallied at the nation’s capitol Wednesday. Bob Stallman, AFBF president, emceed the “Farm Bill Now!” rally on Capitol Hill.
The event drew hundreds of participants from across the country, including farmers, congressional members and leaders from agriculture, conservation, energy, consumer and nutrition organizations. The group urged Congress to pass a new, comprehensive, five-year farm bill before current farm programs expire at the end of September.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, said the new farm bill is "stuck at the moment,"
“Perhaps never in the history of farm legislation have so many diverse farmer and rancher voices joined together for such a common call for action on a farm bill,” said Stallman during the event.
“We gather here under a banner adorned with three words. Farm. Bill. Now. And we are here to raise our voices toward Capitol Hill…for a shared purpose.”
The farm bill isn't just a bill for farmers. The USDA says, 1 in every 12 American jobs is directly related back to the farm.
The farm bill has a broad impact on all citizens and the U.S. economy, according to the farm Bill Now coalition. It provides healthy foods to millions of schoolchildren and nutritious options to families in need, as well as develops and expands trade with valuable foreign markets. By reducing spending significantly compared to prior farm bills, the proposals pending right now in Congress address the need to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.
AFBF is encouraging Congress to reach agreement on the House Agriculture Committee and Senate-passed bills.
Congressional members who spoke at the event included Stabenow; Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.,; Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., ranking member of the Agriculture Committee; and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D..
The event was endorsed by 88 organizations representing a broad range of commodity and specialty crops, livestock, dairy, state and local governments, energy and biobased products, farm cooperatives and financial groups.