NPC News: Congress in Recess as Farm Bill Conference Awaits
Both the House and Senate are home for the August recess as the stage has been set for the Farm Bill conference upon their return.
“As folks may see their representatives during town hall meetings or community gatherings during August, it would be extremely helpful to advise them of the importance of concluding this conference before the end of September,” said John Keeling, NPC CEO and co-chair of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance.
The potato industry and the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance are pressing for passage of some key provisions in any final conference report:
- Restoring resources for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program that is vital for potato trade issues and reforming its operation to make it more responsive and efficient (Senate).
- Ensuring $80 million is available annually for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative. This is an increase of $25 million annually over the current available amount (Senate).
- Enacting a regulatory reform package that reduces the burden on individual producers and ensures that valuable crop protection tools are available to address current and emerging pest and disease threats (House).
- Maintaining vital resources for agricultural export promotion programs through the creation of a new Foreign Market Development Program at USDA (both bills).
- Supporting continued operation of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and vital pest and disease prevention and eradication programs (both bills).
Senate leadership indicated their desire to send a conference report to the President shortly after the Labor Day Recess.