Farm and food groups showed a united front in calling on Congress to pass a farm bill now, despite the long odds of doing so anytime soon. Their campaign is called “Farm Bill for American Families,” with more than a hundred groups urging Congress to act, even if it takes a short extension into early next year.
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall joined a panel of food and food donation leaders at the National Press Club. He said, “If we don’t have a farm bill, there’ll be some serious disruptions in the programs. So, plain and simple, we’ve got to have a farm bill, and it’s got to be done in a timely manner.”
But Duvall admits, time is not on his side. “We understand the realities of the legislative calendar and how difficult it is to get this through by the first of the year,” said Duvall. “We know that the new Speaker put it as one of his priorities, and we were delighted to hear him do that. But if it takes an extension, a short extension, to get it done and get it done right, we will be there to help him—we need a new farm bill.”
And Duvall tells Congress—‘Don’t waste all the work you’ve done and kick the can down the road.’ But Duval’s unity with food retail and feeding groups is not reflected in Congress where farm bill talks have stalled amid testy fights over farm versus SNAP spending.
Feeding America’s Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said; “It feels as if there’s an effort to vilify, to make this issue about other than hunger being the enemy, both segments of society being the enemy, or we don’t want some group to get some inordinate or fictional advantage.”
AFBF’s Duvall argues divisive hunger and SNAP work issues can be handled in the same farm bill…warning farm and food programs should not be ripped apart. Doing so would fail both food producers and consumers, and the lawmakers representing them in Congress.