Sen. Franken: Farm Bill Is Near
by Betsy Jibben, Reporter
January 24, 2014 9:20 PM
It’s been a three-and-a-half year battle that Minnesota Senator Al Franken believes will soon come to an end. After months without a farm bill or even an extension, Senator Franken met with farmers and Agriculture leaders to talk about the importance of a new bill and why he believes it’s almost complete.
The senator hosted a question and answer session with farmers to listen to their concerns. Senator Franken says he especially wants a 5-year farm bill so farmers can start planning ahead.
"We need this to happen and we need it to happen for a lot of reasons," said Minnesota Sen. Al Franken.
Minnesota Senator Al Franken has been fighting for a new farm bill. Sitting among farmers from his Minnesota, he says he believes it will come sooner than later.
"My hope is that next week when we come back, that we will be getting this farm bill done," said Franken.
Franken says after talking with colleagues in the house and senate, he believes the bill is about 99-percent complete. Yet in the bigger picture, if it's not done soon, we could face even bigger problems than before.
"This is so urgent that we get this done, because it could be an argument that we are ignoring the law," said Franken.
Since Congress has been deadlocked over the Farm Bill, a 1949 law could become effective. It’s something that could drive prices up at the grocery store.
“Farmers need the safety net, the continuity and certainty that these policies provide,” said Minnesota Corn Growers Association Executive Director, Tim Gerlach.
Since farmers are currently without a farm bill and crop insurance, many want to know what will be in the new bill. Franken says he believes crop insurance will be one of the main ingredients when it is passed.
“Essentially we will get rid of direct payments. We’re going to support on crop insurance and that will be the new way. Press your people to be heard and let’s hope this improves,” said Franken.
Senator Franken also spoke about the Renewable Fuel Standard. The current administration is looking at cutting back on renewable fuels like ethanol. Franken says the Environmental Protection Agency is taking comments until January 28. Franken encourages farmers to let the EPA know how they feel.
If you are interested in voicing your opinion on the Renewable Fuel Standard, you can go to MNCorn.org or to the EPA’s website.