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Congress Urged to Address Farm Bill Legislation

March 2, 2012

NMPF joined with more than 80 different farm, conservation and rural organizations insending a letter to the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, urging their leaders to pass a farm bill this year. NMPF stated that it is imperative that Congress act soon as possible on the next farm bill, given that many important programs expire after September 2012, and up to 37 such programs in the current farm bill do not have funding to continue without reauthorization.

The MILC program is set to expire on September 30, 2012, along with the rest of the farm bill, but prior to expiration, the payment rate will be reduced for the month of September from 45% to 34%. NMPF asked congressional leaders to include in the new farm bill the Dairy Security Act (HR 3062), sponsored by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee and nine other cosponsors.

Senate Agriculture Committee members have already been busy with 2012 Farm Bill hearings that began in the middle of February. The hearings have ranged in topics from energy and rural economic growth to conservation and nutrition. See the committee’s website for more information.

Meanwhile, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) announced March 1st that his committee will conduct a series of field hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill. The hearings are set to take place throughout March and April in locations including New York, Illinois, Arkansas and Kansas. Chairman Lucas hopes the hearings will give the committee an opportunity to interact with farmers and ranchers and hear their thoughts on current U.S. farm policy.

The following details on the field hearings were provided by the House Ag Committee:

Friday, March 9 – 9:00 a.m. EST
North Country Community College, Sparks Athletic Complex
23 Santanoni Ave
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Friday, March 23 – 9:00 a.m. CDT
Carl Sandburg College, Student Center Building B
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
Galesburg, IL 61401

Friday, March 30 – 9:00 a.m. CDT
Riceland Hall, Fowler Center
Arkansas State University
201 Olympic Drive
State University, AR 72467

Friday, April 20 – 9:00 a.m. CDT
Magouirk Conference Center
4100 W. Comanche
Dodge City, KS 67801

A live webcast will be available for anyone unable to attend the hearings in person. Visit the committee’s websitefor more information.