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Year-End Farm Bill Last Hope for 118th Congress

A year-end farm bill seems to be the last best hope for producers before lawmakers have to face the reality they’ll have to punt the effort into a new year and a new Congress. Both parties have put their farm bill cards on the table, and House Ag advanced its bill, but no further action is scheduled yet on either side of Capitol Hill.

Kansas Senator Roger Marshall was asked if he’s heard of a markup date from retiring Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow. Marshall said, “We sure haven’t. We’d love to welcome that type of news. I’m sure she’s digesting what Senator Boozman and our team put out, but we’re optimistic we’ll get somewhere on this.”

Ag Committee Ranking Republican John Boozman issued a GOP farm bill framework this week, holding out hope for a last-minute deal. Boozman said, “I look forward to taking our two frameworks, forging a bipartisan farm bill, and passing it into law before the 118th session of Congress comes to a close.”

Chair Stabenow issued a statement after Boozman’s proposal that “the only path forward is to hold together the broad food and farm coalition, “ adding that both Boozman and House Chair GT Thompson split it on nutrition and climate.

Marshall spoke about the GOP position saying “We’ve got to make sure we put the farm back in the farm bill. And what the Democrats have offered us does not take care of crop insurance. It doesn’t take care of reference prices, and it has too many guardrails around the conservation programs that farmers and ranchers won’t be able to use those programs anymore. So, we’ll see if Senator Stabenow is interested in making crop insurance and reference prices a priority.”

But if the partisan standoff continues, Marshall made this telling remark.

“Farmers will have a better farm bill if Republicans control the Senate, and I think there’s a good chance of that happening come this fall. (Reporter) Which is more impetus to wait ‘til next year. (Marshall) There is, that’s right. (Reporter) Thank you, sir.”

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

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