Congressman Bill Owens joined 79 of his Democratic and Republican colleagues in sending a letter to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives today, urging the 2012 Farm Bill (H.R. 6083) to be brought to the floor for a vote. The legislation, which renews expiring federal farm and food programs, is critical to New York agriculture. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Owens helped spearhead the letter highlighting the importance of a House vote on the legislation, which was approved by a strong bipartisan 35-11 vote in the Committee on June 11.
New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton also stressed the importance of the legislation. "Mother Nature provides enough uncertainty for our farmers. The drought conditions they are currently experiencing and the devastating spring frosts are just two of the reasons why it is critical for the Farm Bill to pass by the Sept. 30th deadline. Farmers need to know what protections and funding are in place as we transition to a new safety net. We appreciate Rep. Bill Owens' bipartisan efforts to get the Farm Bill through the House Agriculture Committee and onto the House floor for a vote," Norton said.
The letter reads in part, "The House Agriculture Committee has done its work and we now ask that you make time on the floor of the House to consider this legislation, so that it can be debated, conferenced, and ultimately passed into law, before the current bill expires. We need to continue to tell the American success story of agriculture and work to ensure we have strong policies in place so that producers can continue to provide an abundant, affordable and safe food supply."
The majority of current Farm Bill policies expire on September 30. The House of Representatives is currently scheduled to be out of session beginning Saturday, August 4th until Monday, September 10th. Affording the House and Senate time to negotiate a final 2012 Farm Bill in conference is critical, which is why Owens is urging a House vote before the August break. The Senate approved its version of the 2012 Farm Bill in June.