Now that Congress’s summer recess begins, Senate and House delegates are returning to their home states where they face many disgruntled farmers.
The recent session of Congress provided little relief for farmers, even with the Senate’s passing of the farm bill. With the members of Congress back in their home states, it’s time for farmers to let their delegates know what’s important to them.
In an interview with the American Farm Bureau Federation, Dale Moore, American Farm Bureau public policy director, identifies three areas that need Congress’s attention.
The first area is obviously the farm bill. While it passed in the Senate, it has yet to pass in the House. The current farm bill in effect expires at the end of September, making it a top priority for Congress. Moore says the farm bill is important “simply for the certainty it provides to producers.” Producers can’t plan ahead when they don’t know what the farm bill will do.
The second area is the agricultural labor program, which couples with immigration reform. Agriculture requires a large labor force to satisfy its needs—whether harvest, planting or livestock care. Immigration reform would increase the agricultural workforce, providing farmers with the help that they need on their farms and in the fields.
Waterways improvement is the third most important issue to farmers. Rivers are used to transport 60 percent of corn supplies to their end-use locations. Unfortunately, many locks and dams that facilitate transportation haven’t seen upgrades in decades.
Moore says that farmers need to voice their frustrations to their delegates if they want to see improvements: “I need you to go back to Washington and let folks know that we’re tired of this, we’re frustrated with the political process that seems to get tangled up on things, that impedes the progress…. We need to break the logjam and get it done.”