Election Year Challenge: Farm Bill Finalization Needed Sooner Rather Than Later

Clint ThompsonFarm Bill

By Clint Thompson

Election Day is five months away. Campaigning will begin far sooner. It places an emphasis on finalizing a farm bill at an expedited timeframe.

Kam Quarles

Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council and co-chair of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA), talked about the importance of Congress finalizing the legislation sooner rather than later.

“It’s a challenge to get bills like this done in an election year. I will tell you though, we have done that in the past,” Quarles said. “Once you get closer and closer to November, a lot of folks are distracted. They’ve got to go campaign and make sure they get re-elected so they can continue to make these decisions. That becomes their own personal priorities.”

Global Importance

The House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the farm bill before Memorial Day. That provided hope that progress has been made and will continue to progress on legislation that was due in 2023. Quarles emphasized the importance of its passage when discussing its significance on a global stage.

“In general, with the farm bill, we get focused on this is what’s happening in Congress and Washington D.C. and the United States, but you’ve got to recognize we’re in competition globally with a number of farmers who are standing on the shoulders of their own government policies,” Quarles said. “All of our competitors have their own versions of the farm bill. If we as the United States don’t update our farm policy to reflect that increasingly complicated competitive environment, our producers are going to fall behind.

“In this global race that we’re engaged in that seems to be just accelerating, we are going to be farther and farther behind, less competitive, and ultimately that’s going to impact every single American, whether or not you work on a farm or you’re a consumer. Everyone is unfortunately going to get saddled with the poor results that not having a farm policy that reflects our current competitive environment.”