JEFFERSON CITY – The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture is gearing up for the next federal farm bill, and this time they hope to pass it on time.
U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, presented updates on the bill at the 2018 Farm Bill Summit at MU Wednesday afternoon before discussion begins in the Capitol. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., also provided a video statement.
The farm bill is the foundation of federal agricultural and food policies that is passed every five years by the U.S. Congress. The current bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, was passed in February of 2014, two years after the previous 2008 Farm Bill’s expiration in 2012. It is set to expire in 2018.
The 2008 bill was extended for nine months until September 2013. Congress had previously proposed two bills in 2012 and 2013, but both failed to pass the House.
Hartzler, who is a majority member of the House agriculture committee, said she saw some challenges that delayed the signing of the 2014 bill.
“When I was elected in 2010 and got there in 2011, it was just the beginning of the discussions of the farm bill, and I understood how important it was that you have these programs,” Hartzler said. “I quickly learned how many people don’t like the farm bill for various reasons. They made it a complicated process that took years for us to get that done.”
Hartzler said the committee aims to write the new bill up in a timely manner.
“As we go into looking at the farm bill coming up, we’re going to be working very hard to make sure we have one of the best farm bills possible,” Hartzler said. “We are committed to trying to do everything we can. This time we would get it done on time.”
Details of the bill should emerge shortly in Congress. The first draft of the bill is planned to be out in a couple of weeks, and the committee hopes to pass the final one by next year.
“Right now, since the bill is being drafted, is the perfect time for this forum. I’m going to take notes this afternoon,” Hartzler said. “We can take that next week and share that with the House agriculture committee and put together.”