NFU: Farm Bill on Path to Completion
WASHINGTON (May 8, 2008) – Members of the U.S. House-Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee today moved one step closer to approving a farm bill. Principle negotiators announced they have reached an agreement on the new farm bill.
“This is a good farm bill,” NFU President Tom Buis said. “Conferees were challenged to write a new farm bill under the pressure of competing demands and a reduced budget. They produced a good, fully paid for, bill that will benefit all Americans.”
A permanent disaster assistance program, a top NFU farm bill priority will be included in the bill.
“We know a disaster is going to happen, each year, in some area of the country,” Buis said. “It only makes sense to have a program in place to confront the challenges presented by Mother Nature.”
The farm bill will make record investments in nutrition, conservation, specialty crop, renewable energy and rural development programs. Lawmakers were able to make these increases in spending while keeping the current farm bill’s strong safety in tact.
“While it is referred to as the farm bill, a majority of the bill’s spending is for nutrition programs to aid those less fortunate. As a farmer, I find it appalling that anyone goes to bed hungry. The farm bill’s nutrition programs will ensure that doesn’t happen,” Buis said.
Mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) and interstate shipment of state inspected meat will also become law. NFU played a pivotal role in reaching a compromise on both measures. The bill also includes improvements to the dairy safety net and a strong competition title.
Despite broad, bipartisan, Congressional support for the farm bill, the president has repeatedly threatened to veto the legislation. Buis called on President Bush to sign the farm bill into law when it arrives on his desk.