After prolonged negotiations and compromise in Washington, D.C., the 2013 Farm Bill passed — in 2014.
It was hard enough getting Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate — and farmers themselves — to agree on the current version of the Farm Bill, but now comes one of the really hard parts of the job for Dale W. Moore, executive director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation.
He’s got to convince every farmer he meets the bill still is an asset to the farming community despite all the political wrangling.
“The fundamentals haven’t been changed (in the bill),” Moore said. “I’d say 75 to 80 percent of the folks in the middle are happy with the bill. If anything, the problems we had with this one have taught us how to approach the next one.”
Federal lawmakers pass the Farm Bill every five years, and it determines, among other things, how much the government will subsidize farming.
Moore said the Farm Bill took so long to pass because of a divergence in trends. The economy was in a down cycle while the farming industry was in a boom. That made extreme politicians on both sides wary of subsidies to farmers, he said.
There were times when an addition or two to the bill would have caused the American Farm Bureau to pull its support of the bill, Moore said. But in the end, the bureau is comfortable with the bill and can tout it, as he did Tuesday at the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce’s “Breakfast at the Fair” event.
The third annual breakfast event brings together the business and farming community of Lebanon County at the annual Lebanon Area Fair.
Moore said he expects the bill to be implemented by fall or midwinter. The delay is unlikely to affect the economics of farming, he said.