For anyone who closely followed passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, which spanned over 2 years and countless revisions, it seems entirely too soon to be talking about the next Farm Bill. Unfortunately, that time will soon be upon us. The current version of the Farm Bill will expire in September of 2018, which means lawmakers have only 19 months to accomplish the lawmaking process.
If history is any indicator, it is never too soon to prepare.
This week House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway announced to Politico that he wants to get to work now, lest we end up like last time. To facilitate discussion, he plans to launch a series of meetings around the country. The meetings will be an opportunity for farmers to discuss with elected officials the issues facing agriculture and how the next Farm Bill can help.
Given the monumental task that is the Farm Bill, I actually think this is an excellent idea. Farmers should definitely have their opinions heard and input consider for legislation that is supposed to be aimed at their industry. Agriculture also faces a lot of hurdles right now, and the people who understand those issues best are the ones in the thick of it.
The Farm Bill cannot solve everything agriculture is dealing with, nor do I have all the answers (despite how I come across). But, if given the opportunity to speak with Congressman Conaway to highlight some realities about the current state of farming, this is what I would tell him.
Finish reading here.
[This article was originally published on AGDAILY as a guest column.]