217, it’s precisely how many votes House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) needs to pass the House Farm Bill. Whether or not he will get them is up in the air.
On Tuesday’s AgriTalk, host Chip Flory asked Conaway was his confidence level was heading into a vote.
“We don’t have the luxury of a bipartisan bill where folks could vote against things they don’t like on the margin,” said Conaway. “Let’s have a once in a generation opportunity to reset a really important safety net program for the hungry, as oppose to some pyritic victory that causes us to lose the bigger war.”
What may be an even bigger concern is whether or not the bill will make it far enough to see a vote this week. Conaway said there are some “killer amendments” that have been proposed, specifically in relation to sugar, crop insurance, and the conservation title.
“Maybe by themselves we could fend them off, but a lot of those kind of amendments that try to nickel and dime our programs to death, and at a time with a 50 percent drop in net farm income we just can’t abide any of those,“ said Conaway.
He also mentioned that in meetings with the president he was specifically told that crop insurance needs to be better, and work requirements need to stay strong.
It is the work requirements under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that could cause trouble when the time comes to merge with the eventual Senate Farm Bill.
The House Farm Bill will be in rules committee Tuesday night before a vote on potential vote on Wednesday.
On Tuesday’s show ,Flory also spoke with Dr. Oliver Peoples of Yield10 Bioscience about CRISPR gene editing technology and its role in the future of farming. What may surprise some is the USDA does not see CRISPR gene editing in the same genre as GMOs.
Flory also looked at the U.S. economy with Dr. Vincent Malanga of LaSalle economics and whether the weather is going to effect it long term.
Catch the rest of the discussion from AgriTalk by clicking on the player above