WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Tuesday that farm leaders should express "a sense of urgency" about passing a new farm bill.
Speaking to reporters after a hearing, Stabenow said that in 2013, when farm bill negotiations were dragging on and on, "there was a sense of urgency in the agriculture community," but that she does not get that sense of urgency now.
While the continuing resolution that Congress is considering includes a one-year extension of the expired 2018 farm bill through Sept. 30, 2024, Stabenow said it is vital that Congress pass a new farm bill in 2024.
"I want to hear more about a sense of urgency," Stabenow said. She added that she has heard about priorities ranging from research to the commodity title, but "now is the time to coalesce in what we can do [to get] a bipartisan bill done."
When asked whether he agrees with Stabenow, Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., ranking member on the committee, told reporters he believes farm groups "are expressing urgency."
But he added the farm leaders "understand the times are so different (from) 2018 that we don't just need to do something, we need to do the right thing."
Boozman and some farm leaders have called for an increase in the reference prices that trigger farm bill subsidy payments.
Asked whether conflict over how to come up with additional budget authority for what farm groups are asking is the biggest issue facing the committee, Boozman said that the biggest problem is still waiting on scores from the Congressional Budget Office. CBO, he added, has had a lot of work analyzing appropriations bills.
Boozman said he would like to see the agricultural funding in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) brought into the farm bill baseline, but he said that neither Republicans nor farm leaders "had any input" into those provisions.
Stabenow and other Democrats have said that if the IRA provisions are brought into the farm bill, they still want the money devoted to the climate-smart conservation programs that are in the IRA.
Boozman, during the opening of Tuesday's hearing, also talked about the one-year farm bill extension being agreed to, adding that it would also "maintain funding for the orphan programs." Those programs involve more than 30 programs that cannot operate without a continuing piece of authorizing legislation that cannot expire.
Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at email@example.com
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