As I write this letter, the 2012 Farm Bill sits wilting away like the crops without rain this summer. Now we see the drought of political will to complete the 2012 Farm Bill. This drought does not rely on Mother Nature to reverse so it won't threaten programs, policy, and people. Just a desire to see the completion of the work nearly done.
Speaker of the House Boehner has said he would take this up during the lame duck session and we need to hold him to that promise. We applaud the full Senate and the House Ag Committee for their bipartisan votes and the Administration for calling on the House to complete its work on the 5 year Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill has a greater reach than most realize. The effect goes well beyond the farm to the whole Of Iowa's economy. Titles related to conservation, research, and rural development, and funding for export programs, such as the Foreign Market Development and Market Access Program. Agricultural exports are one of the bright spots in the battered U.S. trade balance. That translates not only directly into income, but jobs throughout the distribution chain. Like the rain this summer, critical programs like export promotion can't just be turned on and off like a faucet.
With the short crop, now is when we really need these people working with customers to get thru this shortage. There will be a time again when all customers will be essential to our farms and therefore our communities' income. Congress has the power to pass a reform minded five-year Farm Bill - a bill that includes sound conservation, critical risk management, as well as food and nutrition programs. The U.S. Senate and the House Ag Committee and even farmers across the drought area have done their job, now we ask our legislators to do their job; get the Farm Bill on the House floor for debate and final passage. Kicking the can down the road will not do any of us good in the long run.