Cattlemen are keeping up the pressure on lawmakers to do a farm bill this year, despite what seem like impossible odds given Congress’ paralysis over a Speaker.
Past President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Kevin Kester was on Capitol Hill recently, pressing for a new farm bill, despite big questions surrounding its fate. “Whether the farm bill’s going to get passed this year or next year, and just the political interest that we have for amendments to the farm bill,” according to Kester.
Kester told NCBA’s Beltway Beef podcast, Cattlemen have several priorities. “Number one, get a farm bill passed. The conservation title, EQIP and CSP, conservation programs, it’s important to keep the funding up, and availability for ranchers—it’s very important.”
The California rancher says NCBA’s also looking to protect the beef checkoff that some groups and lawmakers have tried to kill. Kester says the program’s worthwhile; “It works, and it produces a good return for the investment of each dollar spent. And so that 12-dollar to one, roughly, return on that one-dollar investment is huge—it’s increased demand, it’s increased our exports.”
At a time when farm exports are down and a new farm bill with improvements for EQIP and other popular programs are in doubt. The 2018 law expired last month and key farm lawmakers now predict a one-year farm bill extension may be needed, especially since next year’s an election year.