Ag Policy Blog

McConnell Calls on Congress to Swiftly Pass a Farm Bill

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on the U.S. Senate floor Thursday making his case for Congress to quickly pass a new farm bill now that the debt-ceiling legislation has been signed into law. (Image from YouTube video)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., noted Thursday that the 2018 farm bill will expire September 30 and that Congress needs to act "swiftly" to pass a new bill.

"Congress needs to do its job and get this legislation across the finish line -- swiftly," said McConnell during a brief Senate floor speech.

At the moment, neither the House nor Senate Agriculture Committees has moved to mark up or advance a new farm bill.

The Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN) noted in an analysis, "McConnell pointed to high inflation, rising farm production costs, and lower commodity prices in urging action on the farm bill."

"This legislation is the cornerstone of the government's approach to helping farmers feed America," he said.

"Last week, negotiators between the Democratic president and the Republican speaker allowed the Senate to take an important step toward fiscal sanity and avert economic catastrophe," said McConnell.

"In the coming months, we'll need further collaboration to produce legislation that puts farmers first and secures our food supply. Senate Republicans stand ready to do our part."

FERN also noted that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told a nutrition conference earlier this week that no new funding was available for the farm bill.

But FERN added that an aide to Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., the ranking member on the committee, said, "There are resources available for us to meet various needs. Positive conversations continue, and staff are hard at work crafting the details."


Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @hagstromreport

Canada Joins U.S. to Challenge Mexico on Biotech Crops, Eh?

The Canadian government on Friday announced it will support the U.S. request for dispute settlement consultations with Mexico under the U.S. Canada Mexico Agreement (USMCA).

As DTN reported last week, the U.S. Trade Representative requested the dispute settlement consultations with Mexico over its decrees to ban the imports of biotech corn.…

Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, and Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, Mary Ng, released a joint statement in response to the United States' requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

(The trade deal allowed each country to come up with its own way of branding the replacement for NAFTA)

"CUSMA is the most successful trade agreement in the world with over $2 trillion in trade flowing between our three countries every year," the ministers stated.

The ministers added that Canada "is committed to science-based decision-making and keeping food, feed and the environment safe, while supporting the ability of our farmers, workers and exporters to succeed in an innovative and sustainable agricultural sector."

The ministers then noted, "Canada shares the concerns of the U.S. that Mexico's measures are not scientifically supported and have the potential to unnecessarily disrupt trade in the North American market."

So Canada will participate as a third party in the consultations, the ministers state.

"Canada will continue to work with Mexico and the U.S. towards an outcome that preserves trade predictability and market access for our farmers and exporters."

Chris Clayton can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN


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