Senate Passage of Farm Bill

Senate Passage of Farm Bill

Passage of Senate version of the Farm Bill

I’m KayDee Gilkey with the Northwest Farm and Ranch Report.

Washington’s U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell held a press conference in Spokane last Thursday discussing the passage of the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill. The House version was released the same day.

Senator Cantwell has a message for farmers and ranchers of the Pacific Northwest.

Cantwell: “You guys are doing a great job, growing a great product. What we need to do is to make sure we continue to research so we can innovate. Continue to market with the Market Access Program. Think about diversifying a little bit on things like lentils, getting those into new markets or rotation. And this farm bill -- yah we need to tightening the belt -- so it is a Farm Bill where we are tightening the belt, but we are also focusing on what will really help us grow more jobs.”

Cantwell highlights that the Senate Farm Bill invests in ag research, and two of her initiatives included in the bill will increase research of peas, lentils and other pulses as well as a pilot program in schools to increase use of pulses in schools’ meals.

Also included in the Senate version is the reauthorization of both the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program. These programs help Pacific Northwest farmers increase the sales of wheat and other ag products overseas.

The Senate bill also provides support local and organic production by boosting efforts to connect farmers with consumers through farmers markets and food hubs.

Cantwell: “We want this Farm Bill to move in a bi-partisan fashion. We want the President to sign it hopefully before our August recess. It is time to send to the President’s desk so that we can get it done.”

I’m KayDee Gilkey with the Northwest Farm and Ranch Report on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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