Clock Ticking as USDA Plays Catch Up from Shutdown, Drags Its Feet on Implementing the Farm BillThu, 07 Feb 2019 12:46:11 CST
Allison Rivera is Executive Director of Government Relations for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association who works out of the organization’s Washington, DC office. Among the issues she has put many hours into over the past year or so, is the 2018 Farm Bill. In a recent interview with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, she said cattle producers are generally pleased to finally have this legislation in the books as the law of the land.
“NCBA was very supportive of this bill. Did we get everything we would have liked to have seen in there - no - but our biggest priority is what we were able to achieve. And that was the authorization and funding for a Foot & Mouth Disease vaccine bank. It was a big lift and so we consider that a huge win,” Rivera said, adding too how pleased cattlemen were with the final bill’s particularly strong conservation title as well. “Overall, we felt that this was a solid bill. The fact that Congress got a bill done in 2018 is a big deal in and of itself.”
Rivera noted that what finally went into the bill is also just as important as what was not included. With so many interest groups vying for provisions to advance their own agendas - often times countervailing to the requests of other groups - she says it was good to see no market disrupting measures made it into the final product. Given that, on the whole, Rivera says the 2018 was a major win for farmers and ranchers. However, the concern now is that time is being wasted in the bill’s implementation due to the delays caused by the government shutdown and potentially more roadblocks if Congress does not soon come to terms with the Administration to avoid yet another shutdown.
“Now, government is open. But, it could just be temporary. They do have a lot of catch up to do having been closed for 35 days. So, we are at a little bit of a standstill and that is where we don’t want to be. We want to be moving forward,” she said. “Time is moving. This is a five-year bill and we want to get this (vaccine) bank up and running.”
Listen to Rivera’s full conversation with Hays sharing her concerns regarding the Farm Bill’s delayed implementation, on today’s Beef Buzz - brought to you by the American Angus Association. America’s breed.
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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