Updated 6/3/12 2:40 p.m.
House Ag Committee to begin their mark-up process for the 2012 Farm Bill. Also, the full Senate vote of the bill is scheduled to happen tomorrow.
While the major hurdle of this year’s Farm Bill process is over, reporting the bill out of the Senate Ag Committee, there are several hurdles yet to be jumped to ensure a 2012 Farm Bill is passed.
The Farm Bill must be passed by the Senate. May 24 was the official day the bill was introduced to the Senate Floor. Senator Debbie Stabenow says that with this bill, "the time for reform has come." The Senate has not approved the bill yet, but she says, "the bill has strong bipartisan support form Senators across the country."
According to Jim Wiesemeyer of Informa Economics, the House Ag Committee is "on track" to markup and complete its version of the bill by the end of June. The kicker is whether GOP leadership will take it up on the House floor in time to have a conference with the Senate and get that done before the Nov. 6 elections. "That appears doubtful," Wiesemeyer says.
Should the bill not be passed before the elections, there is one more chance to pass it before the end of the year. "It looks like a new farm bill could come at the earliest in the lame-duck session of Congress following the elections," he says.
Chairwoman Stabenow realizes the importance of passing the bill before year end. "Agriculture supports 16 million jobs in our country, and it is absolutely critical to provide farmers the certainty they need by passing a Farm Bill this year," she says.
Below, Mary Kay Thatcher of American Farm Bureau Federation explains what she thinks needs to happen in order for there to be a 2012 Farm Bill.