By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Representative Martha Roby said that passage of the oft delayed Farm Bill is a top legislative priority for her and urged the conference committee to show the nation that its leaders can come together and deliver for the American people.
Rep. Roby said in a statement to the Committee,
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on this conference committee and to work toward a solution on this very important bill. I also want to say thank you to the staff of the Agriculture Committee for all their hard work behind the scenes. For three years we’ve been working on a new Farm Bill that would meet this country’s agricultural and economic needs, while enacting important reforms to farm and food stamp policy. I’m pleased that the process is moving forward today.”
Rep. Roby added,
“This Farm Bill is a top legislative priority for me because it is important to the people of Alabama’s Second Congressional District. I’ve hosted numerous town hall meetings, held regular sit downs with my own Agriculture Advisory Panel, and visited with farmers throughout my district.”
Rep. Roby continued,
“I’m proud that my state of Alabama is home to multiple land-grant universities that play an important role in developing new farming techniques and technologies. In fact, just today I met with Auburn University President Jay Gouge and learned about their cutting edge research that is shaping the future of agriculture. From Dothan to Deatsville and from Eclectic to Elba, Alabama farmers deserve a new Farm Bill that provides the certainty they need to plan their planting. “
Rep. Roby said,
“Alabamians also recognize that this bill needs to contain the kind of reforms that show Congress is serious about changing the culture of spending and government dependence. Our country needs agricultural policy that makes sense. We need regional equity that allows the same opportunity and protections for all types of commodities, not just those in certain areas. We need an EPA that helps farmers comply with necessary regulations, not an aggressive, police-like agency bent on punishing those who are just trying to yield a crop….It is time to end the practice of direct payments to farmers, and transition to an insurance system that allows for planting flexibility. Let’s show the nation that its elected leaders can deliver on behalf of the American people.”
Both the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives and the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate have passed different versions of the Farm Bill. In the House the Republican Farm Bill was sabotaged by fiscal hawks who joined with Democrats to defeat the bill crafted by the Agriculture Committee. Democrats thought it cut too many people from the food stamp program (EBT), while fiscal hawks on the Republican right thought it did not cut food stamps enough. The Republican Caucus in the House regrouped after the stinging defeat and passed a farm bill that was separate from the food stamp program, while the Senate passed a Farm Bill that included generous spending for the controversial nutrition assistance programs.
A bicameral Conference Committee has been appointed and is charged with negotiating a final agreement on a new Farm Bill. The Committee convenes today,. U.S. Representatives Martha Roby and Mike Rogers (R) from Saks were both appointed to represent House Republicans. Rep. Roby said that she is calling for sensible reforms and is optimistic that common ground can be reached.
The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, commonly known as the Farm Bill, has been delayed due to differences between the two parties.