SALEM, Ohio — Two of the nation’s largest farm lobby organizations and what appears to be most of the major commodity organizations are planning a rally in Washington, D.C. Sept. 12, to encourage House lawmakers to act swiftly in voting on a new farm bill.
The current farm bill expires Sept. 30, and farm leaders say they’re working together to get a bill passed that will help them over the next five years, and during recovery from this year’s historic drought.
“Congress is coming back into session (Sept. 10),” said Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union. “We need them to pass the farm bill.”
The bill was approved by the Senate June 21, and the House Ag Committee July 12, but has not yet been taken up by the full House.
“This has been an uphill struggle from the beginning but we’ve crossed every hurdle so far,” Johnson said.
Johnson will lead the event along with American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman. Johnson said the farm bill has been a bipartisan effort so far, and he hopes it will remain bipartisan.
“At the end of the day a bill is produced and while each of us may prefer to change certain parts of that bill, the value of that bill is larger than not passing that bill,” he said.
The details. The rally will be held at Union Square at the Capitol Reflecting Pool and will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. It is being called the Farm Bill Now rally. It’s unclear what all will be involved, but Johnson said organizers will speak and he hopes to have some Congressional leaders speak, as well.
Farmers and the organizations that represent them are especially concerned about the historic drought, which in some states is the worst in 50 years. They say a bill is needed to help farmers through the current year, and into the next five.
“We appreciate all of the work done to date by Congress and look forward to working with the House to get a farm bill passed and into conference as soon as possible,” Stallman said in a released statement. “In light of the drought, it is imperative for America’s farmers that a farm bill is passed this year.”
Johnson said the House could consider the bill through conference committees, or directly on the House floor. He said he doesn’t care how it happens, as long as it’s done.
“We are indifferent as to the process,” he said. “The current bill expires the end of September. We want a new bill by the end of September.”
More about the rally is available at www.farmbillnow.com.