For over one year I have been writing about the possibility of a Farm Bill actually passing through both sides of the isle in Congress. The last time a Farm Bill was delivered was in 2008. This Farm Bill was extended due to political shenanigans and party posturing. The language in the 2008 version is outdated and many organic programs have no mandatory funding. Initiatives such as organic data collection and certification cost share have been completely left adrift. Finally there may be a gust of wind to bring the Farm Bill home.
Last week the House Leadership took action that indicates there “may” be movement on the Farm Bill starting today, January 27. The House is poised to consider the bill this week without holding a public conference committee meeting. For this to occur, a majority of the conferees will need to sign the bill in private later today.
What holds even more potential is that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) included the Farm Bill Conference Report on the legislative schedule for possible consideration on Wednesday, January 29. This doesn’t mean the House will definitely vote on the Farm Bill that day, but it creates a path to consideration and a vote by the House. Lawmakers will have to act quickly because The House has an abbreviated calendar this week. Tuesday evening is the State of the Union address, with the House Republican Conference retreat following on Wednesday evening and occupying the remainder of the week.
If the House passes the Farm Bill Conference Report Wednesday, the Senate could consider it later this week. Now is the time to call your Congressional leaders and tell them we need a Farm Bill with full funding for organic agriculture as a priority. Tell them it’s their job to sail the Farm Bill home. Let me know that you’ve made that call.