New Farm Bill Could Be Passed Soon

There is optimism in Michigan’s agriculture community that this year’s federal Farm Bill will be finished and on the desk of the President before the current law expires this fall. Michigan Farm Bureau national lobbyist John Kran says one important thing for farmers is having certainty.

“Just knowing that there’s a safety net in place and research dollars, crop insurance and all the tools farmers rely on to weather their storms is an important first step,” Kran told WSJM News.

The Senate Farm Bill was written by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, who are the Ranking Member and Chairman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, respectively. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants the legislation passed by the July 4 recess.

“Traditionally we haven’t gotten Farm Bills done on time, but as things stand right now, we’re at least on the right path,” said Kran. The Senate bill would legalize hemp production and expand crop insurance to cover things that hadn’t been eligible in the past like greenhouses and hops production. Kran says there could, however, be issues in the House with its version, as it recently was voted down along party lines. The House is trying to figure out immigration before going back to its Farm Bill.

The current 2014 Farm Bill, also authored by Senator Stabenow, expires in September. The Senate bill passed in committee last week by a 20-1 vote.