For the third year in a row now, the main topic of discussion at the NAFB Trade Talk was farm bill, or lack thereof.
Despite reports that high hopes are fading for a farm bill yet this year, the ag group representatives we talked to were still cautiously optimistic. “I think progress is being made and I’m still confident that we’re going to get something before the end of the year,” said Mary Kay Thatcher with the American Farm Bureau Federation. Interview with Mary Kay Thatcher, AFBF
“Last year when I was here I predicted that by the end of the year we’d have a farm bill and I’m going to make that prediction again,” said National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson. Interview with Roger Johnson, NFU
National Corn Growers Association president Martin Barbre says they are still hopeful. “We’re pressing every day, working with our friends in Congress,” the Illinois grower said. “We got it to conference, that’s a step forward!” Interview with Martin Barbre, NCGA
American Soybean Association board member Ray Gaesser of Iowa says they are also pleased to see some progress. “We’ve been working on the 2012 farm bill for more than three years,” he said. “But we are encouraged that it has at least come to conference.” Interview with Ray Gaesser, ASA
The other ASA, the American Sugar Alliance, is watching the farm bill progress very carefully because it is so critical to their industry. “The farm bill is .. our one, two and three most important priorities that we deal with,” said chairman Ryan Weston. “We’ll just keep working with all the other farm organizations and members of Congress to try to get a farm bill done by the end of the year.” Interview with Ryan Weston, American Sugar Alliance
The National Sorghum Producers chairman J.B. Stewart of Oklahoma is hoping this process is finally coming to an end. “I think both sides of the aisle are definitely ready to get this behind them,” he said. “We certainly are.” Interview with J.B. Stewart and Tim Lust, NSP
National Association of Wheat Growers president Bing Von Bergen hopes the conference committee puts partisan politics aside. “When they’re in conference they need to reach across the table and say … let’s meet in the middle. And we believe that will happen.” Interview with Bing Von Bergen, NAWG
There are other issues important to agriculture, like the water resources bill and immigration reform, but everyone is looking forward to not having to talk about a farm bill again next year at Trade Talk!
2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album