Earlier this week, the House leadership withdrew from the floor agenda a combined disaster relief and one year extension of the Farm Bill because of opposition expressed by a broad group of farming, environmental, and national organizations, and Senate Democrats that felt it would have block consideration of a full five year Farm Bill. In June, the Senate the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240) and in early July the House Agriculture Committee passed the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act [H.R. 6083], by a vote of 35-11 with bipartisan support. House Leadership has refused to take up the FARRM Act, meaning Congress likely will not consider a multi-year Farm Bill before a month-long August recess. Continued delays could allow the Farm Bill to expire on September 30th, meaning the Farm Bill would revert to the outdated 1949 version of the law.
CWEA is a member of the Healthy Water Coalition, which has been working to include funding in the FARRM Act that will allow municipal organization to receive funding to partner with farmers on conservation projects. The Senate Farm Bill includes that funding, but the House Ag Committee version does not. Earlier this week the Coalition met with majority and minority staff of the House Ag Committee to urge that the Senate provisions be adopted into the House bill. While the majority staff would not commit to adding the provision, they did say that it would be given consideration when the House and Senate eventually meet in Conference Committee to agree on a final Farm Bill.