House Ag Chair Thompson Sees Late Farm Bill Mark-up, Warns Against Extension

House Ag Chair Glenn GT Thompson told Agri-Pulse’s annual Ag and Food Policy forum, he’s looking at a summer or late spring mark-up of a farm bill amid a GOP-White House fight over the debt ceiling.

Thompson was asked how the debt ceiling and budget fights would impact the schedule for committee action on the farm bill.

“In terms of votes, I suspect we’re looking at the summer, end of spring, somewhere towards the beginning of summer.”

When the GOP-White House fight over the debt ceiling and budget cuts must be resolved, or the US will default.

Thompson says the country needs to get its “fiscal house in order,” but not on the backs of producers using just 2-percent of federal spending worth trillions in GDP and millions of jobs. But Thompson concedes, the danger of a delayed farm bill is real.

“There are really only three-options for the farm bill, you let it expire, well that reverts back to ‘dust bowl’ era language—that hurts every American farmer and every American family. That is not an option. Number two, we can do an extension, and like an NFL referee, I’ll keep that yellow flag in my pocket.”

While still aiming to complete a bipartisan and effective farm bill on time by September 30. But Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the forum, farm bill history shows the future is not just in existing programs, but in creating new revenue streams for small and mid-sized farms.

“To local and regional food systems, bio-based products, opportunities to take full advantage of ecosystem service markets, the ability to have a value added proposition from climate smart practices…and the ability to embrace a renewable energy future.”

All in the cause that Vilsack argued passionately, to convince young people they can make a difference by staying in rural areas, and give back to the land and nation, for the opportunities given them.