Kenneth Dierschke, Texas Farm Bureau president, praised the Senate for passing the farm bill but said he is “disappointed in dual 'no' votes from (Senators) John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both Republicans. Political rhetoric claiming to support farmers does nothing to help the future of agriculture. This "no" vote on a major farm bill cannot be justified as pro-farmer in any way.

He said the farm and ranch families of Texas, however, “are very pleased with the passage of a farm bill by the United States Senate. This legislation sharply reduces agriculture spending, but still preserves a safety net for farmers. We urge Texas members of the House to vote "yes" when the farm bill is considered.”

The National Grange indicated the job is only partly complete and is waiting on “the House for action on the nearly $1 trillion piece of legislation that affects every American directly or indirectly.

“While we're happy that the Senate passed their version of the farm bill, we can't help but feel a slight sense of deja vu. Last June we saw the Senate pass their version of the farm bill but the House didn't even get theirs to the floor," National Grange Legislative Director Grace Boatright said. Grace hopes recent reports that the House will bring their bill up for a vote next week will come to fruition.

“I'm hopeful the House will pass its version of the bill this month, but realistically, we are still a long way from getting American agriculture a full five-year farm bill," Boatright said. "We all have to keep working to let our elected representatives know how important the farm bill is to producers and consumers."

National Grange President Ed Luttrell said the farm bill is an essential piece of the puzzle in stability in the market.

A United Fresh statement noted that the Federal Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013“addresses many priorities critical to United Fresh members, including programs supporting essential research, market promotion and nutrition, and continues their support of specialty crops that was established in the 2008 farm bill.

“We congratulate the Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate leadership for moving forward with this legislation that is so important to the nation’s produce providers,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh CEO. “The bill supports fruits and vegetables in ways that will boost consumption and help provide healthful options to Americans – through block grants, nutrition programs and pest and disease research. We’re looking forward to working with the House to preserve funding for these critical fruit and vegetable programs.”

 

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