In response to Thursday’s introduction of a discharge petition by Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) that would force the idling Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (the 2012 Farm Bill) to the House floor for a vote, American Soybean Association (ASA) President Steve Wellman, a soybean farmer from Syracuse, Neb., issued the following statement:
“With the House of Representatives in session for only four days until farm programs established in the 2008 Farm Bill begin to expire, we are at a point where the need for congressional action on the new farm bill is at a critical stage. This is important legislation should not be subject to partisan politics. It affects the livelihood of the 21,000 farmer members of the American Soybean Association, more than 600,000 soybean farmers nationwide, more than 2 million Americans working in agriculture, and the 23 million American jobs that depend on our industry.
“The bill provides risk management coverage for farmers for the next five years that simply will not be accomplished by a short-term extension. The bill also enables farmers to make planting decisions in the coming year and beyond with the knowledge of which farm programs will be in place.
“While the discharge petition advanced today by Congressman Braley is certainly an unorthodox tactic, we are now forced to support this drastic measure. Farmers have been told we haven’t expressed enough concern about the lack of new farm legislation. For weeks, we’ve been told there isn’t enough time to pass the bill. We’ve been told that a one-year extension or a piecemeal disaster bill will cover our needs in the interim. Our clear reply to Congress is that the only acceptable outcome is a full, five-year farm bill passed through the House before Sept. 30. If it takes Congressman Braley’s petition to make that happen, we’re behind it, and we encourage every member of the House that has a stake in ensuring certainty for America’s farmers to sign it.”