Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today said Congress must complete a Farm Bill next year before the current Farm Bill expires. Stabenow said passing a new Farm Bill is necessary to provide certainty for farmers and small businesses. Her comments came during an address at the Farm Journal Forum in Washington.
"We will resume holding hearings when Congress returns in January," Chairwoman Stabenow said. "The goal is for the committee to complete an initial product in the spring to provide plenty of time for Congress to complete its work."
Chairwoman Stabenow said the twelve public hearings held in 2011 and the bipartisan framework developed by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees this year will serve as a strong foundation moving forward.
"The Senate Agriculture Committee held twelve public hearings and accepted over 5,000 public comments. These hearings, and the bipartisan, bicameral effort to provide recommendations to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction have helped us identify ways to streamline and strengthen programs to reduce the deficit and create agriculture jobs," Chairwoman Stabenow said. "These responsible recommendations provide a strong framework on which we can continue to build."
Chairwoman Stabenow said she will continue focusing on principles, not programs, as the Committee continues its work with Members on both sides of the aisle to develop a sound Farm Bill proposal. She said her focus is continuing to meet and discuss with farmers and other agriculture stakeholders what's working and what isn't to develop policies that strengthens American agriculture and ensures an abundant and safe food supply while continuing to offer proposals to increase accountability and reduce the deficit.
More information about the Committee's hearings, as well as archived webcasts of past hearings, can be accessed on the Senate Agriculture Committee website at http://ag.senate.gov.