Blunt, Peterson: Farmers not pushing for farm bill
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., have both said in the past week that farmers are not pushing them to write a new farm bill because they have so many other concerns.
At a Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing last week, Blunt said that when he met recently with farmers for 45 minutes, the farm bill never came up. The reasons behind Blunt’s statements were covered in a report April 16 in the Food & Environment Reporting Network’s Ag Insider.
Last week Peterson told the North American Agricultural Journalists he would describe the farm bill as the fifth item that farmers bring up, “but some groups never bring up the farm bill.”
Peterson said farmers are more likely to talk about the Waters of the United States and overregulation in general, or trade, maintaining crop insurance and the Renewable Fuel Standard before they bring up the farm bill.
He said crop insurance is authorized separately from the farm bill and said it does not need to be in it. Peterson said neither he nor the farmers find the House bill exciting because it does not provide additional money to farmers in a period of low commodity prices.
Peterson said he has directed his staff to work with the Congressional Budget Office on a proposal to raise target prices on crops by 10 percent.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, who will hold a markup on his farm bill proposal April 18, and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., have said farmers need a new farm bill before the current one expires Sept. 30 to provide them certainty.