Farm Bill Frustration is Mounting

Now nine months into a one-year extension of the 2018 Farm Bill and the frustration is growing. Farmers, future farmers, farm-state lawmakers, and farm lobbyists are increasingly frustrated by the lack of a breakthrough in farm bill negotiations so late into an already extended ’18 farm law.

“No update, and I will just reiterate how very frustrating this has been.”

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, whose frustration is echoed by the American Farm Bureau and those it represents. American Farm Bureau’s Joe Gilson:

“They’re telling us that they need a better farm safety net, that inflation and interest rates have cut into their earning potential, so yeah, I mean, we share our members’ frustrations that Congress has not passed a new, modernized farm bill.”

Owing to slim majorities in both chambers and now a presidential election season.

“But the needs of farmers and ranchers and their livelihoods are at stake, so we want to see something get done.”

But will it?

“I had a school group with me this morning on the steps of the Capitol for a photo. One of the questions one of the young men asked me was, ‘Are we going to get a farm bill anytime soon?’ And it was hard to answer him, ‘Honestly, no.’”

Even after both parties’ Senate Ag leaders offered proposals and House Ag passed a GOP bill with some votes from Democrats. Republican Ernst is hoping for a Senate GOP majority after November and agrees with others in her party that it may be better to hold out for a better deal.

“I absolutely do agree, yes.” (Reporter) Because you can get some ‘farm’ in the farm bill? Ernst: “Farm in the farm bill. More ‘farm’ in the farm bill.”