With Congress on summer vacation until September 12, it’s unlikely the September 30 deadline for a new farm bill before the old one expires will be met. But, as Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) told the Southern Peanut Growers Conference, Congress still has to do something.
“Every five years we write a farm bill, it’s a temporary change to permanent law written in the ’30s and ’40s,” said Scott. “The option of doing nothing doesn’t exist. If you do nothing, you revert to permanent laws that are dust bowl era policies that would destroy the food supply of this country.”
Scott, who is a member of the House Agriculture Committee, believes the time has come to separate farm programs – ARC, PLC and crop insurance – from SNAP and the other food programs that make up the bulk of a farm bill. “Many of the people in the ag industry have disagreed with me on this, but it’s time to split the bill,” he said.
Since SNAP benefits are part of permanent law and will continue even if a farm bill does not get passed, Scott suggests making ARC and PLC part of permanent law as well. “And then we need to separate the legislation and do smaller pieces of legislation every other year instead of one super-sized piece of legislation every five years.”
Scott also expressed disappointment that Congress failed to pass an agriculture appropriations bill last week but found time to have a hearing on UFOs. Listen to his remarks and comments to the media below.
Rep. Austin Scott remarks (13:35)
Rep. Austin Scott media (13:41)