Senate Agriculture to Start Farm Bill Hearings

Senate Agriculture to Start Farm Bill Hearings on June 30
By National Association of Wheat Growers

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will hold its first hearing in the 2012 Farm Bill process on June 30, Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) announced this week.  The hearing will be in the Committee’s meeting room in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, beginning at 9:30 a.m. A witness list was not available at press time, but the hearing’s topic as announced is, “Maintaining Our Domestic Food Supply through a Strong U.S. Farm Policy”.

The Committee press release announcing the first hearing indicated that three additional hearings will follow, with topics to include the rural economy, conservation and renewable energy.

The announcement was somewhat surprising to agriculture observers because Lincoln had previously said farm bill hearings would not likely start until 2011 due to other major priorities, including regulatory reform and childhood nutrition reauthorization.

By contrast, the House Agriculture Committee has already held 10 hearings to gather testimony from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, agriculture economists and academics and farmers, including four wheat producers testifying on behalf of their NAWG-affiliated state associations. The House Committee’s subcommittee with jurisdiction over farm programs announced this week that it will hold two hearings this month, on June 17 and 24.

As part of its 2012 Farm Bill planning process, members of the NAWG Board of Directors are currently reviewing the results of an idea-mining survey conducted earlier this spring. NAWG staff in Washington, D.C., will continue to work closely with Agriculture Committee staff on both sides of the Hill, key Members and their offices and other agriculture organizations as the 2012 Farm Bill process develops.

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