Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner held a press conference during his visit Wednesday to the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City, Mo. The main topic he spoke about was the Farm Bill. With harvest near completion and many producers already planning for 2008, Conner says completing the Farm Bill is extremely important.
"We are very anxious for the Senate to take up this Farm Bill, to complete action on it, get this bill through conference and get a good farm bill to the President's desk so our producers can understand the rules of the game," Conner said.
But according to Conner, the committee-approved bill that’s currently stalled on the Senate floor is on the wrong track. He says that’s the reason the administration came out forcefully against the bill in its Statement of Administration Policy.
Conner says there is still time to get the bill done but time is quickly running out and there are serious consequences if the Farm Bill isn't completed.
"We need to encourage Congressional action before Jan. 1," Conner says. "Otherwise we revert back to permanent law provisions which would be fairly catastrophic if we actually had to implement some of these things."
The recommendation of senior advisors to veto the Farm Bill in its current form should be taken seriously Conner says, but a Presidential veto is far from a forgone conclusion.