Last week the U.S. House of Representatives voted to split the farm bill into its separate farm policy and nutrition assistance components. The move drew near-immediate fire from Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow, who denounced the measure as “not a real farm bill” and “an insult to rural America.”
Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey doesn’t go quite as far. He sees the progress as another step closer to a final bill on the president’s desk.
“A split farm bill can mean that we go to conference and get a bill out of there, Northey says. “It can mean that there’s enough motivation that folks would go ahead and pass a bill, so it may be good.”
However Northey adds that he’s “ concerned about what it may mean. I don’t think this is a great strategy. I’m certainly not the one counting the votes, and evidently leadership in the House decided this was the only way they were going to get to a conference committee. So, maybe this is the only way chance at pulling the farm bill together. That’s a bad sign.