Minnesota Public Radio's Brett Neely reports in Farmers, Rep. Peterson rally in Washington for new farm bill:
Hundreds of farmers rallied in front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday for a new farm bill.
Almost everyone at the rally wore pins that said "Farm Bill Now." But the current farm bill is likely to expire at the end of the month without a replacement.
House Republicans are divided about how much to cut food stamp spending that's also covered by the bill.
Minnesota Democrat U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee, said farmers aren't doing enough lobbying.
Agri Pulse staff writer Sarah Gonzalez reports in Ag leaders want more pressure from constituents for a farm bill:
Peterson said in an interview with Agri-Pulse earlier this week that “the problem is that you have half the Republican caucus that doesn’t like this bill for different reasons,” making it difficult to have overall compromise.
“There’s no good reason they didn’t bring the bill to the floor,” Peterson said today, noting that he disagrees with House leadership that there will not be enough votes to pass a five-year farm bill. “I think we do have the votes.”
. . .However, he told the frustrated farmers and commodity representatives on the Hill today he tended to be “too blunt” and that nothing will happen “only if nothing changes.”
“This rally is a good starting point, but we need 100 to 200 calls from people in these districts to these members,” he said. “We have eight days left, but we only need two days to pass this bill. They need to get the pressure put on.”
During today’s rally, Senator Jerry Moran, R-Kans., a Senate Agriculture Committee member, criticized the House, noting “if you have objections with this farm bill, bring it to the floor,” Moran said. “Solve the problem. Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for something to happen."
Read both articles. Here's the video of Peterson (MN07-DFL) speaking to the rally:
Peterson mentions that crops are great out here in Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District. It's true. City Pages' Olivia LaVecchia reports in Minnesota has country's best corn crop in a drought-stricken season, USDA says:
. . .the USDA is expecting 2 billion fewer bushels of corn than last year -- that's 10.7 billion instead of 2011's 12.26 billion. Nearly one-tenth of that crop is projected to come from Minnesota, which is currently on track to produce 1.18 billion bushels of corn.
This year, farmers across the state planted more corn acreage than ever. And all those acres are yielding higher returns than the rest of the country's: While the USDA predicts a national per-acre average of 122.8 bushels, Minnesota is on track to produce 156 bushels of corn for every acre planted. We've felt the drought too -- that state average is lower than last year's -- but the 33-bushel difference between us and the rest of the country is significant.
Disagreements about the Farm Bill have been a source of contention in the race between Congressman Tim Walz and Republican challenger Allen Quist in Minnesota's First District.
Photo: Combining corn.MN Farm Bureau president Kevin Paap totally rebuts Quist's notion of a Farm Bill without food Walz op-ed on Farm Bill: Not just for farmers