Farm Bill Update: Uncertainty Looms as Bill Heads for Vote

      Posted On: May 16, 2018

by Ben Feldman, FMC Policy Specialist |

The fate of the House farm bill is still unclear, but over 100 amendments have been proposed, mostly from Republicans, as the bill heads for a possible vote by the end of the this week.

Democratic leadership has asked their members not to propose any amendments — and not to vote for the bill — out of opposition to changes to work requirements in the SNAP Program and the process of putting the bill together. While some members did break with leadership to offer amendments (including one introduced by Rep. Blumenauer that would reinstate funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program), the Democrats appear lined up to unanimously vote no.

House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway needs heavy support from the Republican party, particularly the Freedom Caucus for the bill to pass. But with opposition growing from across the political spectrum, the prospects for the bill remains uncertain. Over the weekend, Chairman Conaway and Speaker Paul Ryan were hard at work convincing their members to vote for in favor of the bill.

Last week, the Farmers Market Coalition joined over 370 organizations to oppose the House farm bill in its current form. Unless the bill is amended to include funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program, FMC cannot consider supporting the bill.

How can you help?

Your voice is very important. We are urging our members to contact their Representatives and ask them to vote no on the bill, unless full mandatory funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program is reinstated. Click here to find contact information for your Representative, and use the sample script below to call or email them TODAY. Remember, the vote will likely take place by the end of the week, so we need to speak up now!

Sample Script:

Dear Congressman/Congresswoman _______,

(IDENTIFY YOURSELF, YOUR LOCATION, AND YOUR CONNECTIONS TO FARMERS MARKETS. FOR EXAMPLE: “My name is Johnny Appleseed. I’m a resident of Fort Wayne, Indiana and I run 3 farmers markets in the district.”)

As the House farm bill heads to a vote, I respectfully ask that you vote no, unless full mandatory funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program is reinstated.

The Farmers Market Promotion Program is vital to farmers markets and the farmers who rely on them. Mandatory funding for the program needs to be preserved. Thank you.