Farmers, Rep. Peterson rally in Washington for new farm billby Brett Neely, Minnesota Public Radio
WASHINGTON — Hundreds of farmers rallied in front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday for a new farm bill.
Almost everyone at the rally wore pins that said "Farm Bill Now." But the current farm bill is likely to expire at the end of the month without a replacement.
House Republicans are divided about how much to cut food stamp spending that's also covered by the bill.
Minnesota Democrat U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee, said farmers aren't doing enough lobbying.
"We need a hundred or 200 calls from people in their districts to these members, that's what's going to change this," Peterson said.
Among those in the crowd was Gary Wertish, the vice president of the Minnesota Farmers Union and grows corn and soybeans in Renville, Minn.
"The farm bill has always been very bipartisan in the past and now this year it appears it's been caught up in election year politics and is not moving," Wertish said. "I'm very disappointed in that."
Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson said if the farm bill gets pushed into next year, farmers should plan for less assistance from Washington.
"The consequence is not having money down the road," Doug Peterson said. "You're going to get a different Congress, you're going to get a different budget and then you're going to have reduced programs across the board. That's the reality of Washington."
Even if the farm bill expires, the food stamp and crop insurance programs at its heart will continue without change.