Disagreements over provisions in the federal Farm Bill could negatively impact the agricultural sector in Arkansas, according to U.S. Senator Mark Pryor.
Throughout the summer, Pryor says he has heard the concerns of constituents who worry that partisan gridlock will continue to hamper passage of the bill.
“Around the state, farmers, agribusiness, and just farm-related businesses are nervous and afraid that Congress will not pass a law in time… that will be very destructive and it will create uncertainty for business,” said Pryor. “We need to come together and get a bipartisan bill passed in both houses.”
Pryor says there is only 74 days left until the current Farm Bill expires. After existing provisions end, he says some of the nation’s farm and food policies could revert back to laws passed in the 1940s.
Senator John Boozman says the way forward will be determined by what happens in a conference between members of the House and Senate. During those discussions, lawmakers will have to craft a final version of the bill.
“The House originally was unable to reach consensus on a bill that included the Commodity Title and food stamps lumped together. House members ultimately [only passed] the Commodity Title, which is the part of the bill that has to do with payments to farmers,” said Boozman. “The Senate version of the Farm Bill has the Commodity Title and the food stamp portion so we can conference the two bills together and keep some food stamp provisions, because it’s already in one of the two bills.”
Boozman says lawmakers from both chambers are expected to meet in the coming days to finalize the legislation.