Texas Farm Bureau urges farm bill passage
(WACO, Texas)—The president of the state’s largest farm and ranch organization said today the organization is “extremely disappointed” that HR 2, the U.S. House of Representative’s legislation authorizing a new five-year farm bill, has so far failed to be approved.
Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening, a grain, cotton, cattle and dairy farmer from Poth, urges Congress to act on the farm bill “without delay.”
The bill failed to pass on May 18 on the House floor, in large part, when members of the House Freedom Caucus pulled support to leverage consideration of separate legislation regarding immigration.
“Farmers and ranchers should not be held hostage in political games,” Boening said. “Our farm and ranch families work very hard to ensure we have the capability of growing food and natural fibers in our own country.”
Boening said Farm Bureau is encouraged that House reconsideration of the farm bill is scheduled between now and June 22.
“We are depending on passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in the House so we can move forward with a bill that provides farmers and ranchers the certainty they deserve,” Boening said.
Certainty is one of the key selling points of a farm bill. It is necessary as farmers make planting decisions and discuss financing with their bankers. Boening urged members of Congress to vote yes when the farm bill is reconsidered in the House.
“We commend Chairman Mike Conaway and his staff for their efforts on the House farm bill,” Boening said. “We also appreciate the members of the Texas delegation who voted for it on May 18.”
Introduction of the Senate version of the farm bill is expected in the near future.
The current farm bill expires in September. Farmers are facing a difficult economic situation, with net farm income less than half of what it was five years ago.
“An extension of the current 2014 Farm Bill is not the answer. We can’t have agriculture in this uncertain situation, especially when farm families are facing low commodity prices and a growing drought disaster,” Boening said. “The risk management tools in the farm bill are more important than ever.”
Boening said recent farm bill funding has steadily declined, and crop insurance provisions in the bill establish a critical safety net for agriculture.
The farm bill also includes provisions for nutrition assistance, conservation and animal health programs.