Just because the United States Congress has been given an extension to pass a new farm bill, it doesn’t mean that getting such legislation has been pushed on the back burner, said Christian Richter, principal at The Policy Group.
Richter spoke during the Poultry Market Intelligence Forum, held on January 31 at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia.
Richter said that the 2018 farm bill was set to expire in the fall of 2023, but congress has since been given an extension, in which the new deadline is in the fall of 2024.
And while Richter spoke on occasion of dysfunction in both the House and the Senate, he believes that there are members of both chambers who are taking the new farm bill discussions quite seriously.
Among those are farm state legislators who are up for re-election. Richter said the three U.S. senators who are at the highest risk of not getting elected are Jon Tester, D-Montana; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Arizona.
Richter specifically quoted Tester, who is a farmer and serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, as saying: “I’m pushing the Agriculture Committee to get this done, and I’m pushing the chairman and my colleagues to get this done.”
“So that’s the message among folks like Jon Tester who are moderate Democrats who really want to be able to deliver and get their work done for their constituents in farm states,” Richter said.
The chairman to which Tester was referring was Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan. Richter indicated since Stabenow is retiring and this will be her final year in the U.S. Senate, she will want to make sure a strong farm bill is passed.
Richter also described House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, R-Pennsylvania, as a “thoughtful, engaged leader,” although Richter never said his name.
“You’ve got serious minded people who were looking for ways to continue to improve. I think some people have felt that they’ve got a breather to be able to address some of these other, more surgical issues and other programmatic items, even apart from some of the broader political atmosphere,” said Richter.