The abundance of uncertainty around trade reinforces agriculture’s need for the farm bill, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says.
“It's an anxious time,” he admitted. “It's a legitimate anxiety obviously placed in the situation of low commodity prices already. We can't afford trade disruptions. We've got to keep the markets going and we hope to get that's why we hope to get this resolved as soon as possible.”
According to Perdue, farmers are planting crops now and making planning decisions for this year and next year which requires investment in many cases.
“That's why we need a farm bill as well this year before expiration,” he says. “So farmers can make those capital investments and other things that they need to do to keep their operations going.”
Farm Bill Timeline
Potential progress is ahead. According to Pro Farmer’s policy analyst Jim Wiesemeyer, there could be farm bill movement in both the House and Senate this week.
“In the House, the next vote on the initially voted-down farm bill will come after the chamber deals with an immigration bill pushed by the House Freedom Caucus,” he says. “House leaders want an agreement on immigration legislation between moderate, and hard-right Republicans to stymie a move by the moderate Republicans to force a vote on a bill to legalize the status of Dreamers.”
Last month, members of the far-right Freedom Caucus helped defeat House passage of farm legislation to force a vote on Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s immigration bill that would authorize money to build Trump’s border wall, Wiesemeyer says.
Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) previously said he wants to unveil his farm bill on Wednesday, June 6.
“But lingering farmer safety net issues between Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) may push the formal unveiling of the farm bill until the week of June 11,” Wiesemeyer says.