The president of the National Farmers Union says in order to get a farm bill passed it must not be split.
Some Republican lawmakers say the farm title and nutrition program of the farm bill should be decoupled, especially in light of the House of Representative’s failure to pass a farm bill earlier this month.
But, NFU’s Roger Johnson tells Brownfield Ag News, “Most of those folks who have historically argued for separating this and having different bills are really making it an argument for killing the farm bill and are making an argument to deeply cut nutrition programs.”
Johnson says the risk is having two highly partisan bills come out of the split which he says would disrupt the “historical coalition between urban, rural and conservation groups.”
“You need to have a bill that can be supported on a bipartisan basis or we’re just asking for trouble longer term.”
Johnson says there’s intrinsic value in keeping them together. He tells Brownfield “For generations now, many of us (farmers) complained that people don’t understand where their food comes from. Well, now you want to cut the connection between the nutrition bill in the farm bill because you say it doesn’t have anything to do with farming? I mean, that’s crazy. It has everything to do with farming.”
Johnson argues that it would be impossible for the House to split the farm bill and try to reconcile it with the Senate-passed farm bill to get anything done.