Congressional leaders let the 2018 Farm Bill expire Sept. 30 and have yet to act

The federal Farm Bill — which every five years reauthorizes farm and nutrition programs across the country — hangs in the balance after congressional leaders let the bill expire on Sept. 30. With just a few weeks to go in 2018, New York Farm Bureau is pushing Congress to act.

The bill provides for numerous programs such as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program affecting nearly 1 million households.

In a recent statement, New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said congressional leaders had reached a consensus ahead of the current Farm Bill’s lapse at the end of this year: “While we have yet to see specific details, we are hopeful that final passage of the legislation will give farmers some reassurance moving forward. … Farmers need to know what they can count on in planning for next year.”

He mentioned “improvements to the dairy safety net, the continuation of important conservation programs as well as support and research programs for New York’s specialty crop producers” — all “much needed in this tough farm economy.”

“The Farm Bill is an investment in our food system. It helps farm families weather some unpredictable conditions and provides consumers the reassurance that we will continue to have a strong, affordable food supply in this country,” said Fisher, in urging U.S. senators and House members “to support the compromise legislation.”

New York Farm Bureau is the state’s largest agricultural lobbying/trade organization, addressing economic and public policy issues affecting the farm community.

On Wednesday, NYFB wrapped up its 62nd State Annual Meeting in Syracuse. An awards banquet celebrated the farming community and recognized numerous individuals and groups including county farm bureaus. Ontario County Farm Bureau was recognized for its accomplishments.

Delegates unanimously re-elected Fisher to a second two-year term as NYFB president. Fisher is a dairy farmer from Madrid, St. Lawrence County. Eric Ooms, a dairy farmer from Old Chatham, Columbia County, was re-elected vice president.

The two-day annual meeting included discussion and votes on public policy resolutions for NYFB’s 2019 public policy agenda. The organization’s priorities will be released in January.