Leaders from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are meeting to kick off the Conference Committee on the recently passed Farm Bill.
As we enter this last phase, where House and Senate leaders will work out differences between the Farm Bills passed in each chamber, we thought it might be a good time to look back at the support we have seen from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle throughout the process.
Backbone of the country
“I still believe that rural America, and our farm and ranch families, are the backbone of this country. Our farmers and ranchers ensure that people pay the lowest grocery bills in the world. They also hand us a rare trade surplus while creating 21 million American jobs. In the Heartland, agriculture is the lifeblood of the economy. When agriculture does well, Main Street does well. And when agriculture is suffering, so is Main Street.”
– Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, Agriculture Committee Chair
The cost of farming
“People have no clue how much it cost to farm nowadays, what kind of risks you take in farming. If you want to make sure we have a few people farm this whole country, weakening farm policy is the way to do it, because without crop insurance, without these other backstops, young people or ordinary people will not be able to farm. The people that will farm are people with deep pockets.”
– Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, Ranking Member, Agriculture Committee
Certainty and predictability
“Today marks an important day for farm country. We are one step closer to providing farmers and ranchers a Farm Bill with the certainty and predictability they deserve. I thank my partner in this journey, Ranking Member Stabenow, as well as many of our Senate colleagues who offered leadership and expertise. I am proud we have a strong, budget neutral Farm Bill with broad support.”
– Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, Chairman, Agriculture Committee
Protecting rural communities
“This Farm Bill is a major bipartisan victory that has Michigan on every page. By reaching across party lines and working together, we are able to provide certainty to Michigan’s farmers, families, and rural communities.”
– Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, Ranking Member, Agriculture Committee
An issue of national security
“Let us not forget that American farmers and ranchers only make up about 1 percent of our nation’s population, yet, they make sure the dinner tables across the country have food on them. In fact, one farm feeds 165 people in the U.S. and abroad. As such, U.S. farm policy is now a target due to its own success. Politically driven thinktanks and anti-farm groups believe there is no longer a point to have a farm policy in the United States. They fail to realize that the American farmers and ranchers do business with foreign competitors who do not share the free market values of our country or the values that we are founded on, placing them at a disadvantage. Therefore, we have to properly equip our producers to compete with countries that directly subsidize and own the means of production. It is indeed an issue of national security.”
– Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Florida.
Strong safety net
“Over the past year, we’ve met with farmers and ranchers across North Dakota to hear their priorities and this legislation is a result of those efforts. We worked to ensure that the Senate Farm Bill provides strong crop insurance, improves the countercyclical safety net and provides producers with greater access to capital because good farm policy benefits every American, every day with the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world. We’ve already spoken with Senate leadership and encouraged them to move to conference as soon as possible so we can provide our producers and rural America with these important tools.”
– Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota
Everyone’s bread and butter
“I hear that rural America is hurting. We need the Farm Bill to address the concerns facing Ag all over America. The Farm Bill does just that. The Farm Bill protects the farm safety net including commodity programs and crop insurance and invests in rural broadband and modernizes FSA loan program for beginning farmers and ranchers and invests in conservation. President Eisenhower said farming looks easy. Those words hold true today. And that’s why this bill was crafted with those farmers in mind because farmers are everyone’s bread and butter.”
– Rep. Mike Bost, R-Illinois
Encourages young farmers to carry on
“With the ongoing low commodity prices and uncertainty in export markets that our farmers and ranchers experience today, passing a strong Farm Bill is more important than ever. One of the primary ways I judge a Farm Bill is if the policies it contains will encourage more young people to live in rural America, to go back to the communities in which they grew up and to take over family farming and ranching operations. This legislation will provide stability for producers by protecting crop insurance, strengthening the farm safety net and encouraging responsible land stewardship through conservation programs.”
– Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas
This is just a sampling of the support farmers and ranchers have gotten from both sides of the aisle. We appreciate their support, and hard-fought efforts of all who support rural America.