It’s Time to a Pass Farm Bill

Nov 04, 2013

Congress has many issues to address this fall. After the crisis in Syria, working on a continuing budget resolution and a plan to manage the debt ceiling, we have had some long weeks. For me, another priority is the passage of a five-year Farm Bill by the end of the year.

A competitive agriculture industry needs a Farm Bill that maintains our commitment to a domestic, safe, and affordable food supply. Last week, I hosted Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Frank Lucas (R-OK), in a roundtable discussion with agriculture stakeholders representing the wheat, potato, forest and dairy leaders in Eastern Washington, and Washington State University. As a lifelong farmer and rancher, Chairman Lucas understands the real world challenges that farmers and growers face. Chairman Lucas also reinforced my goal of getting a farm bill on the President’s desk before the end of the year.

Right now, we are working to blend the House and the Senate passed Farm Bills and I will stay in close contact with Chairman Lucas to make certain that Eastern Washington’s farmers and growers get the security of a five-year Farm Bill. I recognize that agriculture is a diverse and dynamic industry, so this bill must also include a robust Market Access Program, crop insurance reforms, provisions that enhance critical agriculture research, and policies to promote the health and active management of our forests.

I also recently met with the Association of Wheat Growers. As you know, the wheat industry continues to be a leading industry – vital to Eastern Washington. As such, it’s important that we provide farmers and growers with the necessary tools they need to produce a safe and reliable food supply. The northwest produces some of the highest quality wheat in the world and our family wheat farms are one of the largest economic drivers of jobs in Eastern Washington, generating nearly $1 billion in production value.

After growing up on an orchard in Kettle Falls, I understand the importance of certainty for our farmers and growers, as well as the impact it can have on our communities. Moving forward, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure that a new Farm Bill is signed into law this year. Beyond that, I am committed to keeping land productive and farmers competitive, protecting and enhancing existing water supplies and storage, ensuring the viability of our rural communities, and expanding domestic energy and exploring alternative energy sources. 

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