Main topics of focus will include, of course the biggest portion of current farm policy which is food stamps, then also rural development, crop insurance, and regional and specialty crops. Tom Sell with Combest, Sell & Associates said that there are still big challenges ahead for agriculturalists to overcome, so mark-ups may take a while until committees can reach some agreement.
"You'll have a lot of amendments, you'll have a lot of debates and discussions about the various provisions about the Senate farm bill and the House farm bill," Sell said. "From there then they would go to the House and Senate floor, presumably in June or July to try to get a farm bill ready for enactment prior to its expiration which is at the end of September."
Sell said that you can still do your part. Contact your representatives.
"Because we're so few in number, and because there are so many critics from the outside that are trying to say that the farm bill is a bad thing, it's important that those who do have a direct stake get involved and express their support to Congress," Sell said. "You know we still, thank goodness, live in a representative democracy and we have great Congressmen in this area, Neugebauer and Conaway and Mac Thornberry who have always been strong supporters and advocates for agriculture, but even they can use your support by calling in."
It's been estimated that nearly 16 million jobs in the U.S. are directly tied to agriculture, making a new farm bill a great necessity. We will keep you informed as both the House and Senate ag committees reach mark-ups.