House Republican leaders pulled a one-year extension of farm policy from the agenda of the House Rules Committee on July 31, as the Agricultural Retailers Association and many other farm groups criticized the proposal.
ARA submitted a letter to House Leadership and the Rules Committee to express disappointment in the extension and encourage leadership to allow the democratic process to run its course by bringing the House Agriculture Committee passed version of the Farm Bill to the floor. The House Agriculture Committee version of the Bill would provide multi-year certainty to retailers and producers alike.
The leaders' decision to back away from the one-year extension followed days of criticism from farm groups and lawmakers. On July 31, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had chided the proposal, indicating that chances of the proposal making it out of the upper chamber were slim.
Farm groups had insisted that, if the House took up a one-year extension, it should be approved as a means to a House-Senate conference on a five-year farm bill—an approach the Republican leadership never supported.
While the disappointing Farm Bill extension proposal also included disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers plagued with severe drought conditions this summer. A separate drought relief proposal will be considered on the floor, possibly as soon as Aug. 2.
ARA will evaluate and monitor progress on the new drought relief proposal and continue to support the development of a farm bill that will provide more long-term certainty for agricultural retailers and farmers.