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NCBA Official Outlines Rough Road Ahead for Farm Bill

It’s a rough road ahead for the House GOP farm bill proposal but a welcome one, according to a National Cattlemen’s Beef Association official.

NCBA’s Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera is encouraged that House Ag Chair GT Thompson set a May 23rd markup for his GOP farm bill proposal. But getting the ball rolling is the easy part. Rivera said, “More than likely, you’re going to see probably more amendments offered from the Democrat side, things that they feel like they want to see in the bill that were either not included or they want to include. And so, it should be a robust conversation. It is a Thursday markup. In the past, markups have gone, have started in the morning and gone into the wee hours of the evening.”

Rivera told NCBA’s Beltway Beef podcast that the Cattlemen hope to see gains in three key areas. She said, “Animal health priorities that we’ve been talking about since the last farm bill and even before that. We are hopeful to see some very strong numbers as we move forward with the House farm bill. And then, obviously, we’re going to keep a close eye on the disaster programs that we, unfortunately, have to continue to use across the countryside.”

Conservation programs are also a key for the industry. Meantime, Rivera’s trying to be optimistic but is concerned by the politics and the clock. Rivera said, “We are still sitting in a farm bill extension, politics being what it is. They will need to pass another extension if we get to September 30th and we have not gotten further down the road in this process. But again, just want to reiterate that having a markup on the House side on May 23rd is a step in the right direction. If we need an extension, I think Congress will provide that.”

The question now is if either Ag committee can produce farm bills with enough bipartisan support to win majorities in each chamber, do so in an election year, and do it soon.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau

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