Ohio -- Ohio farmers should soon have some relief, as lawmakers are preparing to pass a new farm bill before the Christmas recess.
“I don’t know all the details,” Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said. “I’ve spoken with [Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Sen. Pat] Roberts and I spoke to Ranking Member [Sen. Debbie] Stabenow — good victories in here.”
The old farm bill expired in September.
The Senate easily passed a new version, but the House didn’t, leading to weeks of negotiations to reach a deal.
Most lawmakers, including Brown, who is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, are waiting to read the final copy of the bill, but Brown said it will be a win for family farms and nutrition.
“The farm bill is really a — it’s not just a family farm bill, it’s also an economic development bill for broadband in small towns and rural areas,” Brown said. “It’s also a conservation bill that will absolutely matter to Lake Erie, to clean this lake up and be vigilant and keep it clean. It matters in local prosperity and farm-to-table.”
A typical farm bill lasts for five years once it passes.
It’s a wide-ranging piece of legislation that not only helps farmers, but funds a nutrition program for families in need — known as SNAP — and protects the environment.
Brown said this new bill doesn’t cover everything he wants, but it’s a good start.
“I always want to do a little better with nutrition, a little better with conservation,” he said. “But we’ve kept some good language in there that would help, especially with filter strips and planting ground cover in those areas that are in the Lake Erie, Maumee River Basin. And that’s really, really important.”
Two other Ohio lawmakers, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Congressman Bob Gibbs, are on the House Agriculture Committee.
A spokesperson for Fudge said she looks forward to reviewing a final report of the bill once the Congressional Budget Office has scored it.
And a spokesperson for Gibbs did not return a request for comment.