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Farm Bill Now Rally Draws Hundreds of Supporters

14 September 2012

US - More than 200 Farmers Union members joined hundreds of other farmers, ranchers and agriculture industry supporters in the shadow of the Capitol earlier this week 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 organisations.

“We are all united on one thing; we need a farm bill and we need a farm bill now,” said Mr Johnson. Senator Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; Senator Jerry Moran, Repuplican Collin Peterson, ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture; and Republican Kristi Noem, 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 Mr 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, Mr 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 Mr 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.

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