Two agricultural organizations that are often on the opposite side of the fence have joined together in the fight to get the Farm Bill passed. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has united with the National Farmers Union as masters of ceremonies for the Farm Bill Now rally in Washington, D.C. on September 12 at 11:00 am EDT at Union Square by the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Among lawmakers scheduled to speak are Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson and South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem.
Craig Hill, a board member of AFBF and the president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, said that efforts have been underway for several years and organizations across the board, such as ranchers and dairy farmers that comprise several dairy associations, have worked out their differences and come to a consensus.
The Farm Bill, says Hill, is not just for farmers. It is for everyone including consumers. Dairy farmers have been especially hit hard this summer. With the devastating drought throughout the country, dairy farmers have dealt with dying grasslands and higher feed prices. That is why it is especially important that this Farm Bill include a disaster package.
Hill says that the two versions of the Farm Bill are not too disparate from what we have in the Senate Ag Committee or the House Ag Committee. “They are easily conferenced. We have a barrier in that we can’t get this through the House, and we need the President’s signature.”
No other sector in the country has done more to cut budgets than the ag sector, says Hill. “We have over 100 programs that have either been eliminated or have been reduced in some way or another. Many of which large features of the programs, such as direct payments, have been eliminated in both versions.”
Listen to an interview with Craig Hill here: Craig Hill interview