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Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BOSWELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of farmers and producers in Iowa and in my district and across the country. And I want to thank you, Chairman Lucas, and you, Ranking Member Peterson, for working together to try to resolve the need for the farm bill. As you know, we are suffering because of the drought that continues to beat down on our land and our livestock.

While I'm not 100 percent pleased with this bill, I will vote today to move it forward on behalf of my producers in need. And for those who have been grappling for hay and have begun to liquidate cattle, I will support this disaster aid bill. However, I do it with a heavy heart, yet with the eternal optimist of a farmer, as you are, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Peterson.

As a cow-calf producer myself, I can tell you exactly what our farmers and ranchers across America want. They want a farm bill, a 5-year farm bill that will provide long-term certainty in a changing market with an uncontrollable climate.

Producers in my State want a farm bill that invests in expansions and research for insurance programs, like the provisions we worked on in the House committee for livestock insurance and for specialty crops. They want to see a bill that will help them beyond 2012 and 2013, a bill that shows what we know: not only must we react to this drought, but we must prepare for the future.

Since July 11, I have expressed my support for a farm bill every chance I have had. I hope for a conference the same way I hope for rain. However, the Republican leadership has taken every chance they get to block debate on the 5-year farm bill.

It is clear this is not a perfect bill; but these happen to be imperfect times, and I believe we must respond to the drought that is impacting more than half of our Nation, as was depicted by the chairman a few moments ago.

I have reservations regarding the cuts to conservation, particularly since conservation programs have been one option to help feed the cattle under our current drought. Furthermore, if we could bring the farm bill to the floor, we could respond to drought issues, we could debate issues that are critical to all Americans, and we could advance a bill that saves tens of billions of dollars.

It is imperative that we pass a comprehensive, long-term farm bill. Farmers and ranchers always face decisions that carry very serious financial ramifications, such as planting a crop, buying land, upgrading machinery, building a herd. And we know that if we don't have a farm bill, that there are going to be a lot of ramifications on those out there that depend on the agriculture economy for a lot more than producing cattle or corn and beans or wheat or whatever. The machinery is a big part of it.

Both the Senate and the House Agriculture Committees have produced reform-minded, bipartisan bills that address plenty of the core principles that are important, such as strengthening crop insurance and ensuring strong agricultural research and development.

We have heard time and again in this House how uncertainty in the marketplace hinders job creation and economic growth. Not passing a long-term farm bill is bringing uncertainty to family farmers across Iowa, across the Nation, and this uncertainty must end.

We must pass a 5-year farm bill as soon as possible. Therefore, I remain hopeful--my eternal optimism, as I stated--that after providing relief to our producers impacted by this drought, that when we return from the August work period, that Speaker Boehner will welcome us back with a farm bill on the floor.

I support this resolution.


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