House Republican leaders announced Thursday they will not take action on a new Farm Bill until after the November elections — effectively punting this important piece of conservation legislation into the Lame Duck Congress.
Here is what House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio said:
“We will deal with the farm bill after the election.” “The current situation that we face is we’ve got people who believe there’s not enough reform in the farm bill that came out of (the House Agriculture) committee, (and) we’ve got others who believe that there’s too much reform in the bill that came out of the committee.”
How lame is that?
The House Speaker surely must have made his caucus very happy with this decision, huh? I am sure there are some Republicans in tight House races that are advocating to pass the Farm Bill as agriculture is key to the economies of their congressional districts.
Not to mention that this punt will prevent farmers from enrolling in important -and popular – conservation easement programs like the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP).
The current five-year Farm Bill law expires September 30.
This is a let down for Farmers now struggling with drought in many parts of the country. This isnt the best news for wildlife either. Potentially losing millions of acres of sensitive working lands that could have enrolled in wildlife friendly programs.
The Senate under the leadership of Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow produced a very good bill that provided additional help for Great Lakes restoration and reconnected conservation compliance to crop insurance. Check out this report on why the Farm Bill can help heal the Great Lakes.
The conservation title of the Farm Bill is the largest conservation bill for private lands in our country. Its no secret that passing this provides a unique opportunity for sportsmen to partner with the farming and ranching community to encourage conservation of fish and wildlife habitat. Farm Bill programs like the CRP, Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program and Wetlands Reserve Program have made millions of acres on America’s farms and ranches more attractive to fish and wildlife. Sportsmen in particular have seen firsthand the increases in the numbers of game species and other wildlife since their inception.
Lets hope that taking this up during the Lame Duck wont produce a lame deal for farmers, ranchers and wildlife.