NACo: No Clear Path Forward for Farm Bill

As previously reported by MACo, NACo has taken a position to oppose the House’s one-year extension of the Farm Bill, set to expire on September 30. The one-year extension of the bill eliminates mandatory funding for NACo priority programs in rural development, renewable energy and beginning farmer, and rancher development (to see NACo letter click here). NACo has continued to advocate for passage of a multi-year Farm Bill reauthorization that maintains funding for all titles of the Farm Bill, especially rural development programs.

There has been no movement by House leadership to give floor consideration to the House Agriculture Committee passed Farm Bill, H.R. 6083. A short-term extension until after the elections or a one-year extension appear to be increasingly likely scenarios. In addition, there is some talk that the Farm Bill will be allowed to expire until after the elections.

NACo joined 80 organizations on Wednesday, September 12 as an official endorser and participant in the Farm Bill Now Rally. A bipartisan panel of Congressional leaders and Farm Bill advocates participated in the rally and expressed strong support for completing the bill before the September 30 expiration. In addition, on Thursday, September 13, a bipartisan group of thirty-nine House members including nine Republicans signed the discharge petition to move the bill to the House floor only hours after Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), moved it. A majority of House members would have to sign the petition to force the House leadership to bring up the House Agriculture Committee-passed farm bill on the floor for consideration. Discharge petitions rarely work, but they sometimes force House leaders to bring up a bill to avoid the embarrassment of a display of opposition.

NACo will continue to advocate for passage of a multi-year Farm Bill reauthorization that maintains funding for all titles of the Farm Bill. This outcome is still possible if the House passes a Farm Bill before Congress recesses for campaign season. This would give time for a conference committee to create a compromise bill that can be passed in the lame duck session of Congress after the elections. NACo is leading a coalition of 44 rural interests groups that are urging Farm Bill passage and advocating for key NACo priorities in the Rural Development title. The NACo led coalition continues to advocate for rural development priorities outlined in a letter sent to Congress on August 30.

Action Needed: Please contact your congressional delegation and urge them to pass a multi-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill now and urge them to work to support mandatory funding for rural development, beginning farmer, renewable energy, nutrition. and conservation easement programs in any conference negotiations.

For more information on NACo’s activity visit the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Steering Committee webpage or contact  Erik Johnston at 202.942.4230.


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