Ag group opposition splinters ahead of farm bill vote

The American Farm Bureau Federation remains opposed to the split and urged a “no” vote Thursday morning. 

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“The 'marriage' between the nutrition and farm communities and our constituents in developing and adopting comprehensive farm legislation has been an effective, balanced arrangement for decades that has worked to ensure all Americans and the nation benefits. In spite of reports to the contrary, this broad food and farm coalition continues to hold strong against partisan politics,” the Farm Bureau said.

“Yet today, in spite of the broad-based bipartisan support for keeping the farm bill intact, you will vote on an approach that seeks to affect a divorce of this longstanding partnership. We urge you to oppose the rule as well to vote against final passage of this attempt to split the farm bill and end permanent law provisions for agriculture,” the Farm Bureau said. 

But the National Corn Growers Association switched to back a “yes” vote on Thursday.

“We urge members of the House to approve the bill and we expect immediate action by a conference committee to secure a five year farm bill we can support. However, our action in no way reflects our approval of its contents or the manner in which it came to the floor,” the group said. 

The National Association of Wheat Growers said it would support a “yes” vote as well.

“Our officer team does not like the idea of splitting the bill or of repealing permanent law but if [Agriculture] Chairman [Frank] Lucas [R-Okla.] feels this is the best way forward and will ultimately get us a five-year, comprehensive bill, we are following his lead at this point,” spokeswoman Melissa George Kessler said.

The Wheat Association and Corn Growers had signed the 532-group letter. 

A spokesman for the American Soybean Association, also a signatory, said there was no new position on Thursday.