Sep 11 2012
By Brian Allen
The current federal farm bill expires in just 20 days.
If a new one isn't put in place, the current one will continue to be the law of the land and South Dakota's Farmers Union says that can not happen.
The U-S Senate has passed a version of a new farm bill, but the U-S House has yet to act.
South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem finds herself stuck between frustrated South Dakota farmers and her fellow lawmakers who have yet to take action.
Noem tells KSFY, the House needs to act...but she openly questions if they will.
Via telephone from Washington, Congresswoman Noem tells us she believes 20 days is enough time for the House to pass a farm bill....to reconcile it with the Senate's version and get it to the White House for President Obama's signature. "I'm optimistic. I also recognize the challenges that we have in front of us."
Challenges which include political partisanship: in a presidential election year where both parties are increasingly sticking to their ideological guns, it is tough to get cooperation let alone action.
The president of the South Dakota Farmers Union tells KSFY, he is sick of all the bickering and wants to see more action and less talk. "They need to start working together, they need to start acting like adults and move forward to give us some food securIty for our country."
Noem knows there is a high level of frustration with congress right now, not only among farmers but among the general public.
Noem tells me she is frustrated too and says it is imperative that a new farm bill be passed instead of the current farm bill being extended. She says the nation's farm economy will be in peril if new legislation isn't passed. "Our livestock producers are being devastated by this drought. There's no livestock disaster programs currently in place. So they have no safety net. They don't even have a back-up plan."
A delegation with the South Dakota Farmers Union met with U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. On Tuesday, they will meet with Congresswoman Noem to discuss what is....and isn't...happening in the U-S House with the farm bill.