farm bill

Congress has spent weeks trying to meld the House and Senate versions of the next farm bill into one agreeable piece of legislation.

Left in the balance is the current farm bill, which will expire Sept. 30 without an extension.

Emily Bell / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas farmers are heading to Washington, D.C., next week to meet with members of Congress and the Department of Agriculture.

The family farmers and ranchers will attend the National Farmers Union's Legislative Fly-In.

Kansas Farmers Union President Donn Teske says the team from Kansas will focus its discussions with lawmakers on several priorities.

"The farm economy is first and foremost," Teske says, "and an appropriate Farm Bill with an adequate safety net, which is what the farm program was designed for."

The Senate took a crucial step Thursday to making sure that, among other things, the hungry are fed, farmers have crop price protections and land is preserved beyond Sept. 30 — that is, the day the farm bill expires.

U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas urged his colleagues to pass the 2018 Farm Bill during a speech on the U.S. Senate floor Tuesday.

"Our nation’s food and fiber capability with regards to production hang in the balance with what we do here on this legislation," said Roberts, the Republican chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

The committee passed the Farm Bill with bipartisan support two weeks ago.

Thursday had all the makings of deja vu for the U.S. House’s farm bill draft: immigration concerns, uncertain Republican votes and a wall of Democratic opposition to changes in the main federal food aid program.

In the end, the chamber avoided a repeat of May’s failure, when members of the conservative Freedom Caucus wanted to deal with immigration first. But the farm bill passed Thursday — narrowly, 213-211. Still, 20 Republicans voted against it, as did every Democrat in the chamber.

Two of the nation’s most influential players in agriculture policy, at a meeting in the heart of the country’s Grain Belt on Wednesday, tried to ease worries about the pending farm bill and a budding trade war with China.

Marshall Expects Farm Bill To Pass House In June

May 24, 2018
marshall.house.gov

Kansas Republican Rep. Roger Marshall says that despite the Farm Bill failing to pass in the House last week, he still expects it to pass.

No Democrats voted for the bill, and the Freedom Caucus, a small group of conservative Republicans, also withdrew their support until after immigration is discussed.

Marshall is on the House Agriculture committee. He says there are no plans to win over Democrats by backtracking on stricter work requirements for federal food aid.

Some conservative House Republicans made it clear Friday in voting down the 2018 farm bill: They’re not interested in a farm bill without working on immigration first.

Thirty Republicans and every Democrat voted against the farm bill, which failed 198-213 in the full House.

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

The farm bill traditionally is a bipartisan effort, but House Republicans have proposed changes to the main federal food-aid program in this year’s version that has struck a nerve. To move it through efficiently, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says he’ll appeal to President Donald Trump.

“Well, obviously, he’s a big person to rely on, and when he puts his shoulder to the grind there in Congress, then typically things happen,” Perdue said Friday in Denver at a symposium on water conservation.

U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall's Office

Held up over disagreements over federal food stamps, the first draft of the 2018 farm bill arrived Thursday, bearing 35 changes to that program, including starting a national database of participants.

The current farm bill expires Sept. 30; in the past, Congress has had to extend their work beyond deadlines. The bill — released on Thursday — came from the House Agriculture Committee, which is headed by Texas Republican Rep. Mike Conaway.

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