Ranking Member on House Ag Committee will work on compromise Farm Bill with Senate conferees

    Upon being named, not surprisingly, as one of the conferees from the U.S. House of Representatives that will work with conferees from the U.S. Senate on hammering out a compromise Farm Bill, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, longtime Democratic incumbent from Minnesota’s Seventh District and the Ranking Member on the House Agriculture Committee said on the House floor that there’s some doom and gloom in farm country.

    “The mood in farm country is bad. It’s bad because of the Administration’s trade war; it’s bad because of declines in farm income; and it’s bad because of volatile weather like the floods in the southern part of my district,” Peterson said. “Farmers and ranchers are staring a historically bad year in the face, and another hit would mean devastation for many of them.”

    Peterson’s statement came as the House approved by a 392-20 vote his motion that instructs conferees to provide 10 years of mandatory funding for a new federal initiative to prepare and respond to animal disease outbreaks.

    The House farm bill would authorize $450 million in mandatory funding for the new initiative, known as the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, which includes a U.S. vaccine bank, according to a report in Politico. The Senate version, however, would leave it up to appropriators to decide spending levels for the program.

    U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has so far named 29 Republicans as Farm Bill Conference Committee members, and 18 Democrats.

    Now the race is on to see if negotiating Democrats and Republicans on the committee can hammer out a compromise Farm Bill before everyone goes home for the August recess. The deadline to finalize a bill is Sept. 30.