Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Western Caucus releases 2023 Farm Bill priorities

Staff Writer | May 18, 2023 4:56 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 100-member Congressional Western Caucus has released its proposed priorities for the upcoming farm bill currently being considered by Congress, saying the next version of the country’s farm legislation needs to work for farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, consumers and those in need.

The organization, chaired by Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, wants the current Congress to focus on supporting production agriculture — including specialty crops like potatoes, onions, fruit trees, grapes and hops — through improved crop insurance programs, better disaster assistance, expanded export market support, and improving federal support for agricultural research and animal health, according to a six-page document released by the caucus released on Thursday.

The caucus is also calling for improvements to voluntary conservation programs, better management practices for national forests and other public lands, and more support for rural development.

“American farms, ranches and forests produce the food, fiber and fuel that provide for the world,” the recommendations note. “The Farm Bill will play an important role in rural America for multiple years, so the Western Caucus will work to ensure that rural voices are heard through the development of the 2023 Farm Bill.”

Every five years or so since the 1930s, Congress enacts farm legislation to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s operations, everything from agriculture research to food and nutrition. The current Farm Bill was passed by Congress in 2018 and is set to expire this year.

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