Clock Ticking as USDA Plays Catch Up from Shutdown, Drags Its Feet on Implementing the Farm Bill
Oklahoma Farm Report
07 Feb 2019
Allison Rivera is Executive Director of Government Relations for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association who works out of the organization’s Washington, DC office. Among the issues she has put many hours into over the past year or so, is the 2018 Farm Bill. In a recent interview with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays during the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, she said cattle producers are generally pleased to finally have this legislation in the books as the law of the land.
“NCBA was very supportive of this bill. Did we get everything we would have liked to have seen in there - no - but our biggest priority is what we were able to achieve. And that was the authorization and funding for a Foot & Mouth Disease vaccine bank. It was a big lift and so we consider that a huge win,” Rivera said, adding too how pleased cattlemen were with the final bill’s particularly strong conservation title as well. “Overall, we felt that this was a solid bill. The fact that Congress got a bill done in 2018 is a big deal in and of itself.”
Rivera noted that what finally went into the bill is also just as important as what was not included. With so many interest groups vying for provisions to advance their own agendas - often times countervailing to the requests of other groups - she says it was good to see no market disrupting measures made it into the final product. Given that, on the whole, Rivera says the 2018 was a major win for farmers and ranchers. However, the concern now is that time is being wasted in the bill’s implementation due to the delays caused by the government shutdown and potentially more roadblocks if Congress does not soon come to terms with the Administration to avoid yet another shutdown...
more, including audio report [6:06 min.]