Late last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) named representatives that will serve as negotiators on a final Farm Bill. Now that both the House and Senate have named conferees, the stage is set for the conference committee to begin working out differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the Farm Bill.
Agriculture committee leaders met this week and have indicated the conference committee could begin as early as October 28. That makes the next few days critical for American Farmland Trust and our supporters to weigh in with Members of Congress to support our priorities. American Farmland Trust President and CEO Andrew McElwaine sent a letter regarding top priorities in the Farm Bill conference committee, including conservation compliance.
We need supporters sending letters, too. Visit American Farmland Trust’s Action Page today to email your Senators and Representative!
Congress Passes Budget Deal, Federal Agencies Reopen
The 16-day federal government shutdown finally ended this week as Congressional leaders arrived at an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government. Federal employees began returning to work on Thursday. The continuing resolution (CR) that was passed will fund federal agencies until January 15. Congress will then need to pass a final funding bill for fiscal year 2014 or another short-term CR.
President Obama responded to passage of the budget deal and highlighted the need for Congress to also pass the Farm Bill. “We should pass a Farm Bill, one that American farmers and ranchers can depend on, one that protects vulnerable children and adults in times of need, one that gives rural communities opportunities to grow and the long-term certainty that they deserve,” the President said.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller emailed stakeholders yesterday to offer assurance that as operations resume, the agency is taking a proactive, customer-focused approach to get back to normal operations as quickly as possible and pledging to work closely with partner organizations.