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June 21, 2013

Farm Bill Fails in the House: What's Next?

(NCGA DC Office Report) Yesterday’s the defeat for H.R. 1947 on the House floor has caught supporters of the long awaited legislation by surprise. With the announcement by House Speaker John Boehner that he would support passage of the bill, many assumed the decision would secure the necessary Republican support to offset the opposition among Democratic members upset with the $20.5 billion in cuts to SNAP (food stamps), five times the level adopted in the Senate passed bill. In the end, the 62 Republicans voting no overwhelmed the 24 Democrats who supported the measure.

In other surprising developments, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s (R-NE) $250,000 limit in commodity program payments per farm and tighter definition of an “actively engaged” farmer prevailed by a vote of 230 to 194. Also, the controversial mandatory supply provision in the bill’s dairy reform program was struck with the passage of former Agriculture Committee Chairman, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) by an unexpected wide margin, 291 to 135.

Current Status: Where the farm bill process is now headed is a question no one can answer today. It is a very disappointing development that will take some time for the House Leadership and supporters of a new farm to evaluate and consider the next steps for moving the ball forward.

(KyCGA Statement) We are extremely disappointed the Farm Bill failed, but want to thank Representatives Whitfield, Guthrie, Barr and Rogers for their support of our farmers and effort to move the bill forward so the conference committee could iron out the details.

National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives failing to pass the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act:

“The National Corn Growers Association is extremely disappointed to see the House of Representatives fail to pass the 2013 farm bill. Up to the last minute our organization has actively and consistently called for passage of the legislation. We will be engaged in all efforts needed to secure passage in the House and bring the bill to Conference.”

The Hill: “K Street Stunned at Farm Bill Defeat”

Roll Call: “Farm Bill’s Failure Poisons Wells in House”

Politico: “Farm Bill Falls in Chaotic House Vote”

National Journal: “Conservatives Overreach on Food Stamps Spells Doom for Farm Bill in House”

“Rep. Louie Gohmert has Some Feelings About Farm Bill, America”

WSJ: “Farm Legislation Suffers Surprising Defeat in House”

Opinion “The Farm Bill Revolt”

Washington Post: “Farm Bill Meets Surprise House Defeat”

New Water Quality & Use Resources for Farmers:
Making Every Drop Count

This new learning module from NCGA has very helpful, quick to review information about water quality and use.  Some of the parts I found most interesting and useful were those on irrigation.  I had forgotten just how much water a corn plant puts back into the air and how much a one inch rain puts onto every acre. This is extremely important information as the issue of irrigation and the impact on water sources is discussed statewide. - Laura Knoth, KyCGA Executive Director

The video, titled “Driving Change,” showcases NCGA members describing the practices they are implementing to enhance water quality on their farms and in their area. The 30-minute NCGA Water Issues Learning Module was developed to help farmers better understand water quality issues and best practices.

Both tools reveal the major benefits in using best management practices, and stress the importance of becoming knowledgeable about issues related to water quality and use at local, state and regional levels. They also help farmers learn regulatory requirements and understand key elements of the Clean Water Act.

“NCGA is dedicated to continuous improvement, education and supporting water conservation and input management,” said Dean Taylor, chair of the Production and Stewardship Action Team. “Our goal in producing these tools is to communicate the actual production related practices farmers are successfully implementing related to water quality.”

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