WASHINGTON – More than 200 Farmers Union members joined hundreds of other farmers, ranchers and agriculture industry supporters in the shadow of the Capitol today for the “Farm Bill Now!” rally to send a clear message to Congress that they want a farm bill now.
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson cohosted the rally with American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. They were joined on stage by many members of Congress and leaders from a broad spectrum of supporting organizations.
“We are all united on one thing; we need a farm bill and we need a farm bill now,” said Johnson.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture; and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., addressed the crowd.
Several members of Congress stood with their colleagues on stage in a sign of support.
“We heard from several members of Congress who have been on the Hill a long time, and they said there’s plenty of time to pass a farm bill,” said Johnson. “There’s no excuse for Congress not doing their job. This is detrimental to all of America. The farm bill is a food, energy and jobs bill.”
Afterwards, Johnson expressed cautious optimism that the message of the rally would make an impact on legislators.
The Senate passed their version of the bill last June and the House Agriculture Committee passed theirs in July. It now needs to go to the House floor.
“I’m hopeful that the enthusiastic response and high energy of the crowd made an impact. The ball is now in the House’s court. If the members didn’t get the message, perhaps they’ll get it on Nov. 6,” said Johnson.
The “Farm Bill Now!” rally was endorsed by 90 associations and coalitions representing commodity crops, livestock, dairy, specialty crops, consumers, state and local governments, minor crops, energy and biobased product groups, farm cooperatives and financial groups.
The other speakers included Fred Yoder, representative of 25x’25; Ambassador Tony P. Hall, executive director of Alliance to End Hunger; Bob Stallman, president of American Farm Bureau Federation; Jon Scholl, president of American Farmland Trust; Steve Wellman, president of American Soybean Association; Gene Schmidt, president of National Association of Conservation Districts; Bing Von Bergen, first vice president of National Association of Wheat Growers; Sally Greenberg, executive director of National Consumers League; Garry Niemeyer, president of National Corn Growers Association; Roger Johnson, president of National Farmers Union; Ken Nobis, president of Michigan Milk Producers Association, representing National Milk Producers Federation; and David Masser of President and COO Keystone Potato Products in Penn., representing United Fresh Produce Association.