A split is coming to Washington in the New Year as Republicans get set to take the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, while Democrats retain control of the U.S. Senate. Regardless of which party has control, the country’s farm organizations have a history of working with both sides.
“So I have to say, in terms of ag policy, ag policy has a long tradition of being a bipartisan conversation,” says new American Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President Joby Young, as of July.
Young says the bi-partisan approach for AFBF in the coming year won’t be much different than the past.
“From a Farm Bureau perspective, we’re a bipartisan organization. We have great relationships and constituency that is able to have a good conversation with policymakers from both parties over the years and we’ll continue that tradition and look forward to doing that, not just with folks that we have long standing relationships with that may have been in Congress for a long time, but also a lot of new members.”
Farm Bill working group discussions are already at full speed in preparation for the writing of the 2023 bill, and for Farm Bureau that means starting at the grass roots level.
“Twenty-eight hundred County Farm Bureaus, over the past few months those folks had their county meetings. They’ve had a local conversation about their priorities and their issues. They’ve articulated policy preferences that feed up into their state annual meetings which are going on now and having those conversations at a state level. Then when we have our convention in Puerto Rico in January that delegate body will finalize our policy priorities and one part of that will be the farm bill.”
Young said the working group produced 60 recommendations for Farm Bill priorities.
“Our board approved that unanimously. We released that publicly a few weeks ago. Those are 60 recommendations that are in every title, every aspect of the farm bill, but some of the top line priorities that we’re talking about are things like keeping the Farm Bill unified, keeping that Nutrition Title paired with the farm program aspects of the Farm Bill. We feel that’s been a successful approach in the past and an appropriate one. It’s something that allows us to have that conversation around the whole food and access them together, that policy conversation. So, we’d like to see that continue.”
Additionally Farm Bureau would like to see critical programs in the Farm Bill preserved, namely the safety net and crop insurance. They also want USDA to have the staffing and systems in place so programs can be deployed.