Today, Congressman Tim Walz participated in a Farm Bill Now! rally near the capitol to raise public awareness about the need for Congress to pass a new, five-year Farm Bill before October. The event was organized by the Farm Bill Now! coalition and is endorsed by a broad, bi-partisan coalition of 88 organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Alliance to End Hunger, Pheasants Forever, and Ducks Unlimited.
"Whether it comes in the form of steady, dependable prices at the grocery store or relief for drought stricken farmers, the Farm Bill affects and gives certainty to everyone. Congress needs to get its chores done. We need a five-year Farm Bill now. Rural America--and the rest of the country--can't wait," said Walz, a member of the House Agriculture Committee. "I applaud and thank these organizations for joining forces to raise awareness about the need for Congress to pass a comprehensive five-year Farm Bill before October."
Walz has strongly advocated for House leadership to bring the comprehensive, 2012 Farm Bill forward. The bill passed out of the House Agriculture Committee with a strong bipartisan vote of 35-11 in late July. But even with strong bipartisan support, House leadership stonewalled and refused to allow a vote on the five-year bill by the full chamber.
According to Politico, never in modern history has a Farm Bill been this close to passing and been blocked from doing so.
The 2012 Farm Bill is ready to go and, after hearing directly from southern Minnesotans, includes many of the provisions Congressman Walz authored.
These provisions will:
Make it easier for our youth to take up farming and ranching operations and agriculture entrepreneurship.
Increase energy access in rural America; improving efficiency and reducing input costs for farmers and small businesses.
Ensure farmers have the flexibility to grow a wide array of crops without penalty or fear of losing their insurance.
Save taxpayer dollars, conserve critical wildlife and hunting habitats, while still allowing farmers to manage their lands as they see fit.
Keep shipping costs low for our food and electricity producers by giving local citizens a voice in railroad pricing negotiations.
In addition, the five-year Farm Bill makes the USDA more efficient by streamlining many programs to cut down on unnecessary paperwork and overly burdensome regulations for farmers. It eases access to lines of credit so that farmers who want to expand their business have the tools necessary to do so. And it reforms out-of-date dairy policy and strengthens crop insurance to protect taxpayers while also making sure farmers won't literally lose the farm if disaster strikes.
The message to House leadership is clear: pass the Farm Bill, pass it now.