Thu August 23, 2012
Congress Approaches Deadline to Pass Farm Bill
The Farm Bill is set to expire at the end of September. Wisconsin's only member of the House Agriculture Committee is predicting the House will not come to an agreement by that time.
A version of the FARRM Act has passed the Senate and the House Ag committee but has not come to a vote yet before the full House. Republican Reid Ribble represents the 8th Congressional District in Northeastern Wisconsin. He is the only Wisconsin Representative on the Ag Committee. He says the reason the bill has not come before the full House is that there are not the 218 votes needed for passage.
Ribble says farm issues break down on a regional basis. “You've often heard how you can't get two farmers to agree on hardly anything. And there's some truth to that because every farm is different, and you're trying to blend a policy that includes Wisconsin dairy, includes large farms, small farms, the cranberry industry, the potato growers, the fruits and vegetable people the timber people, the paper people.”
Ribble predicts the House will vote to extend the current version of the bill. His Democratic opponent Jamie Wall says the stalled farm bill is another example of what he calls a “do nothing Congress.” Wall says, “They [Congress] can't organize a two car funeral.”
According to Wall, the five-year farm bills are important because they give producers a measure of stability. “It's an important part of the state's economy and we want to make sure it's a healthy part of the state's economy. And that's why these farmers deserve some certainty in what's coming from the federal government,” Wall says.
The House Ag Committee's version of the FARRM would eliminate four dairy programs including the Milk Income Loss Contract—or MILC—for short.