New England News
6:30 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Report Spells Out Importance of Passing Farm Bill

Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley

The White House Rural Council has released a report that outlines the need for Congressional passage of the Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill is the main funding bill for agriculture and the nation’s nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps. The 48-page report titled “The Economic Importance of Passing a Comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill” was prepared by the U.S Department of Agriculture, the White House National Economic Council, Domestic Policy Council, Council of Economic Advisers, and Office of Management and Budget. Released on Thursday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the report makes a compelling case why it’s important and necessary for Congress to act as quickly as possible to complete the Farm Bill.

The five-year Farm Bill is more than a year overdue, and some of its programs have been sustained through continuing resolutions.  New York Farm Bureau Spokesman Steve Ammerman doesn’t know if the report will actually spur congressional action, but notes it does reinforce what the group has long noted.

Northeast Dairy Farmers’ Cooperatives Senior Dairy Policy Advisor Bob Gray is frequently on Capitol Hill monitoring Farm Bill proceedings. He reports that despite three meetings by conference committee members Thursday, negotiations were stalled at late morning Friday.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack notes that the report released on Thursday spells out consequences if Congress does not complete the Farm Bill by the end of the year.

The report has been posted on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.

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