Pending negotiations for the next Farm Bill dominated the discussion during the last general session at the SPGC on Saturday which focused on Challenges for Agriculture.
Congressman Stephen Fincher (R-TN) of the freshman class in the House of Representatives for 2010 would like to see the next Farm Bill delayed until after the 2012 election. “We’ve got to make sure as we approach writing a new Farm Bill that we’re very level-headed,” he said. “Farmers understand that we’ve all got to tighten our belts a little bit, but we can’t kid ourselves and think that we can balance the budget on the back of one percent of the budget, which is what ag gets.”
Fincher is a real minority in Congress as a 7th generation cotton farmer but he is proud to be able to represent agriculture and help to educate his colleagues about the importance of the industry. Listen to my interview with Rep. Fincher below:
Mary Kay Thatcher with the American Farm Bureau Federation is a veteran when it comes to farm bills, having been through the process six times before, and she thinks we may actually see two new Farm Bills if the debt ceiling negotiations mean the kind of cuts they are considering for agriculture. “We’re unfortunately going to take a pretty fair amount of cuts this year, probably in the range of $30-40 billion out of the commodity and conservation titles,” she said. “If indeed we lose that much money, it will sort of require us to write a farm bill in the next couple of weeks, and then to write it next year for re-evaluating what we have left and looking the other titles.”
Listen to my interview with Mary Kay here: Mary Kay Thatcher, AFBF (MP3)
Bob Redding, who represents the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation in Washington DC, says there has never been a more important time for farmers to have their voices heard in the nation’s capitol.
“Farmers need to keep up with what’s going on, let their congressmen and senators know exactly how they feel and what they would like to see in a farm bill,” Bob says.
Listen to my interview with Bob here: Bob Redding (MP3)