Smith Ready to Get to Work on Farm Bill

January 11, 2018 08:43 PM

(ABC 6 News)--The clock is ticking on a budget bill in the nation’s capital. Lawmakers have until January 19th to pass a spending bill. But amid the budget battle, tax talk and immigration debate, another issue is looming that will have a big impact on our area - the 2018 Farm Bill. 

Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., is settling into life in Washington D.C. That includes learning which committees she'll serve on in her new role. 


"I really wanted to be on the Ag committee, so I couldn't be happier about that," said Senator Smith.

 As a member of the Senate Agriculture committee, she'll help shape policy in the 2018 Farm Bill.

 "Some of the basic bread and butter issues that farmers are dealing with are going to be dealt with on that committee," said Sen. Smith.

 She also said those issues include low commodity prices, high input costs and less working capital. 

"The amount of capital required is just huge and our income has dropped dramatically in the last few years, but our expenses have not come up," said Gary Wertish, the President of the Minnesota Farmers Union.

He said the biggest need for farmers is improvements to crop insurance and dairy farms. 

"You can see in Minnesota we've gone down dramatically in the number of dairy farms in the last, really a short amount of time," said Wertish. 

Smith wants to prioritize raising prices, but she said it's an issue that is not strictly for the farm bill. 

"Minnesota farmers benefit so much by good exports. We need to make sure that our trade agreements support Minnesota farmers selling their products all over the world," said Sen. Smith. 

"We don't want to make a profit off the farm bill; we just want to have a farm bill that keeps you in business to farm another year," said Wertish.

 Farmers in the state are optimistic they will have a strong backing with Smith joining fellow Minnesota Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the Ag committee.

 "We're excited. It gives us a little bit more representation on the Senate side, so that'll be helpful," said Wertish.

 "Minnesotans will be well represented as this bill gets done," Sen. Smith said.

 Smith will be meeting with farmers and representatives in Minnesota this weekend to hear what they believe is important to include in the farm bill.


Marissa Collins

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Relay Media Amp

Most Read Stories