The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to go conference with the House to iron out differences between their two versions of the farm bill. It also named its conferees.
On July 18 the House voted to send the farm bill to conference, and following that vote, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, named 47 Republican and Democratic members as House conferees.
Ryan named 29 GOP House conferees. Thirteen members of the House Committee on Ag were among the selected conferees, including Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-TX, the agriculture committee’s chairman. MWFPA state representatives included Rodney Davis (R-IL), John Shimkus (R-IL), and Sean Duffy (R-WI).
Pelosi named 18 Democratic members to the conference committee, including 10 members of the agriculture committee led by Collin Peterson, D-MN, the ranking member on the agriculture committee. Others among MWFPA member states are Tim Walz (D-MN) and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL).
The Senate Republicans will be represented by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KN)., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), John Hoeven (R-ND), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR). For Democrats, the Senate conferees include Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Even though the House will not return from its summer recess until September, leaders of the House and Sen. Ag. committees say that work on a compromise farm bill will continue through August. McConnell said he was hopeful the conference report would be ready for a vote after Labor Day.
MWFPA is working with the American Fruit & Vegetable Processor & Grower Coalition to ensure that its “all forms” fruit and vegetable language is a part of the final bill.
The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.