One Step Forward for Farm Bill

As the battle over how to fund the government beyond September 30th continues - agricultural stakeholders are waiting for farm bill action. In a 226 to 191 vote - the House passed a rule Saturday that would put the farm and nutrition programs back together in one bill. The Senate is expected to reject the measure and ask for a conference. But some say it could still take weeks for the farm bill conference to actually get up and running. The Senate would have to reappoint Senate conferees and send a message to the House. Then House Speaker John Boehner would appoint House conferees. With time running out as the current farm bill is set to expire - Senator Amy Klobuchar - Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee and a member of the Senate Ag Committee - released a report analyzing the increasingly important role of agricultural exports in the U.S. economy. Klobuchar said the report highlights the need to pass a long-term, comprehensive Farm Bill to ensure that growth continues. She said American agriculture is feeding and fueling the world while supporting good jobs - adding that farmers across the country deserve the certainty of a long-term farm bill so they can continue to succeed.

The U.S. is the world's leading exporter of agricultural products - with exports of these goods reaching a record high 141.3-billion dollars in 2012. The report released by Klobuchar outlines several policy actions Congress can take to boost U.S. farm exports - including passage of a long-term farm bill to provide certainty for U.S. agriculture, reducing barriers to exporting and promoting opportunities for small and new producers, investing in transportation infrastructure and enacting comprehensive immigration reform to bring stability to the agricultural workforce.

For the full report - including state by state data - visit www dot jec dot senate dot gov (www.jec.senate.gov) and click on the Vice Chair's website. The report is available from the homepage under JEC Reports.

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