Farm bill fail
May 21, 2018
by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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WASHINGTON – Stakeholders in the US meat and poultry industry expressed disappointment that US House of Representatives failed to pass the 2018 farm bill with a vote of 198 in favor and 213 opposed.
Democrats opposed the legislation because of new work requirements for food stamp recipients. Thirty Republicans — many of them members of the House Freedom Caucus — were dissatisfied with the $800 billion-plus price tag and the failure to bring a vote on immigration legislation.
In a statement, Allison Cooke, executive director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Association (NCBA), called the vote a disappointing outcome for American cattlemen and women.
“It is unfortunate that some in Congress chose not to stand with the farmers and ranchers who work hard every day to feed families in the United States and around the world,” Cooke said. “The bill addresses a number of priorities for producers, including an expanded Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank, funding for environmental stewardship initiatives, and trade promotion programs. It is critical that Congress pass a new Farm Bill before Sept. 30 to provide certainty for cattle and beef producers. We will continue to work with our allies in Congress to make that happen.”
House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) pledged legislators would continue work on the farm bill. “We experienced a setback today after a streak of victories all week,” Conaway said in a statement. “We may be down, but we are not out. We will deliver a strong, new farm bill on time as the President of the United States has called on us to do. Our nation’s farmers and ranchers and rural America deserve nothing less.”
Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said, “We are already starting to hear from farmers across the nation, many of whom are perplexed and outraged at this morning’s vote. They are facing very real financial challenges. We call on all members of Congress not to use farmers and ranchers as pawns in a political game. The risk management tools of the farm bill are too important, particularly at a time of depressed farm prices. We urge the House to pass H.R. 2 as soon as possible.”
But not all reaction to the “no” vote was negative. The Hudson, New York-based National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) said the bill didn’t go far enough.
“We need a farm bill that works for, and includes, all of us. One that supports farmers and ranchers struggling through an economic downturn or growing amidst a drought, and one that can sustain farming as a viable livelihood for future generations,” Lindsey Lusher Shute, co-founder and executive director of NYFC, said in a statement. “NYFC farmers brought Members of Congress to their farms, wrote op-eds, and sent countless letters with one theme: We cannot wait for another farm bill to address the structural barriers holding our generation back. The House farm bill presented today didn’t heed that call. The House was right to defeat it, and let’s hope it’s back to the drawing board.”
The National Young Farmers Coalition is a non-profit organization that addresses challenges young, independent farmers face in the early stages of operating a farm.