Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
Pennsylvania’s Democratic U.S. Senator says he hopes the short-term extension of the country’s agricultural and farming policy gets a longer-term fix soon.
U.S. Senator Bob Casey sounded the alarm loudly before the New Year, when it looked like the country wouldn’t get a new five-year farm bill, and as one consequence, would see milk prices skyrocket.
Congress ended up passing a nine-month extension of parts of the plan.
Casey faults the House for not passing a new farm bill after the legislation was approved by the Senate, and instead opting to for a partial extension. During a visit to the Pennsylvania Farm Show, he said he hopes Congress doesn’t wait until the last minute this fall to reauthorize a new farm bill.
“I don’t think the bill, the substance of the policy, will change but, because it’s a new Congress, we have to start all over again and vote on a farm bill again,” Casey said. “So the House, and especially the leadership, needs to get its work done.”
One piece aims to help farmers comply with federal conservation regulations – a big concern for Pennsylvania farmers within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Casey said other pieces will need to wait for a new farm bill.
“You have a lot of subject areas that I think are going to be positive for Pennsylvania, but none of it’s going to happen unless we get it voted on or reauthorized and we’ve got to have the House undertake a better process than they did in 2012,” said Casey.
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau also voiced its disappointment a new farm bill wasn’t passed. The group said it wants to see dairy pricing reforms and funding for agricultural conservation practices in a new five-year bill.
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