Thirty-nine of the nation's foremost agricultural organizations, including the American Sheep Industry Association, have joined forces in an effort to raise public awareness of the need for Congress to pass a new, comprehensive, five-year Farm Bill before current farm programs expire in September. The coalition, called Farm Bill Now, comprises associations and coalitions representing commodity crops, livestock, dairy, specialty crops, state and local governments, minor crops, energy and biobased product groups, farm cooperatives and financial groups, as well as the nation's two largest farm groups, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union. Each organization has strong and distinct policy priorities, yet all 39 are committed to passing a new, comprehensive bill this year.
"Calling the Farm Bill the 'Farm Bill' suggests its impact is limited only to farms and to the rural areas to which they are so closely tied," stated the coalition. "It's really a jobs bill. A food bill. A conservation bill. A research bill. An energy bill. A trade bill. In other words, it's a bill that affects every American.
"While Congress waits to finish the Farm Bill, we are united in asking all Americans to encourage legislators-home for summer town hall meetings and speeches-to finish this vital legislation before the current farm and food law expires in September. After all, it's your bill too," concluded the groups.
In addition, Farm Bill Now launched an interactive web portal at www.FarmBillNow.com through which visitors to the site can connect to their members of Congress and show their support for a new five-year Farm Bill.
In the coming weeks, Farm Bill Now will hold events in Iowa and on Capitol Hill to underscore the message as well. On Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 28, farmers representing multiple groups within the coalition will discuss the Farm Bill Now effort at the annual Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, the nation's largest outdoor farm show. On Wednesday morning, Sept. 12, the groups will gather on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol alongside members from the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as leaders from other major farm and commodity groups, rural development, livestock, conservation, hunger, consumer and energy organizations to encourage Congress to pass the bill before programs expire at the end of the month.