WASHINGTON, DC -- Groups from both sides of the political aisle met yesterday to discuss how they can collectively attack the next Farm Bill when it is introduced. Representatives from the Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth, and the American Enterprise Institute held a meeting with groups they frequently are at odds with, including the Environmental Working Group and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, to strategize on farm policy. It is important to note that farmer groups, nor the public were invited to the meeting (see story below).
The primary issue the disparate groups were able to rally behind was crop insurance, specifically the AFFIRM Act. This legislation, introduced by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Representative Ron Kind (D-WI), cuts the funding for crop insurance and requires farmers to disclose the amount of premium subsidies they receive. Based on a report from Agri-Pulse, the groups were unable to find common ground on a proposal to split the farm bill.
"It is unfortunate the U.S. farmers were not invited to this meeting to weigh in on the issues most important to them," said Frank Leach, USA Rice manager of government affairs. "Without the input of the agriculture industry, any recommendation from this group will undoubtedly be uninformed and misguided."