Beef Industry Feeling a Little Left Out as Senate Pushes Farm Bill Through Without Showing Its HandWed, 20 Jun 2018 10:20:02 CDT
The process to get approval on a final Farm Bill for 2018 continues to progress, still with a lot unknowns regarding what exactly is in the Senate’s version of the bill recently passed out of committee - that according to Colin Woodall of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s DC office. The fact that the bill was passed through as quickly as it did and without industry input into some of the clauses included in the proposal has prompted some cautious concerns for Woodall and the NCBA. He talked about those concerns with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays recently.
“When you look at the Senate Farm Bill - one, it surprised a lot of us old hands in the Farm Bill world, because it was only about four hours worth of markup and they were done. That is a process that usually goes into the night,” Woodall said. “I think for us, we were extremely concerned in that even after the Farm Bill was passed, there were provisions that we had yet been able to see language on. So, from a process perspective that’s not good and it does not make us happy. So, there may be some surprises in there that we are not aware of.”
Going into the markup session, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts had made a Manager’s Amendment including in total 66 changes to the draft proposal and Woodall says on top of that an on-block amendment was made as well. Given that the public still has not been privy to all that is in this bill has forced Woodall to take what he says is “tepid” support for the bill, yielding to veteran knowledge that in DC the devil is in the details. Overall though, based on what he does know for sure, he is fairly pleased with. One significant detail is of course the permanent authorization of a Foot & Mouth Disease vaccine bank for the livestock industry. However, he complains that while the Senate leaders offered authorization to carry the project out, they gave no real funding to see it through. However, nothing is certain until the House produces its own version of the bill and the two bodies meet in conference committee to hash out a final bill. Freedom Caucus members that originally blocked the House bill from going through on its first attempt may soon get the immigration vote they demanded and then help Chairman Mike Conaway pass his Farm Bill - but at this point, Woodall says there are no definite answers as to when that will happen, much less when the bill will actually make it to the House Floor.
“So, it is shaping up to be an interesting fight between the House and Senate when it comes to a conference, because these are two radically different bill right now,” he said. “We know that the Chairman is whipping and whipping hard. Hopefully that will give the Chairman enough (votes) to get it through the Floor and prepare for a conference committee with the Senate.”
Listen to Woodall and Hays discuss the latest progress being made on the process to approve a 2018 Farm Bill and what concerns he has about it, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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