WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, has joined nearly 80 of his colleagues from both parties to urge House leadership to bring the 2012 Farm Bill to the floor for a vote.
The bill, which renews expiring federal farm and food programs, is critical to New York agriculture, Owens said in a press release. It passed the House Agriculture Committee earlier this month with bipartisan support.
New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton is also calling for lawmakers to act on the bill.
"Mother Nature provides enough uncertainty for our farmers," he said in a prepared statement. "The drought conditions they are currently experiencing and the devastating spring frosts are just two of the reasons why it is critical for the Farm Bill to pass by the Sept. 30 deadline.
"Farmers need to know what protections and funding are in place as we transition to a new safety net," Norton added. "We appreciate Rep. Bill Owens' bipartisan efforts to get the Farm Bill through the House Agriculture Committee and onto the House floor for a vote."
Most policies in the current Farm Bill expire on Sept. 30. Owens said the House is currently scheduled to be out of session beginning Aug. 4 and won't return until Sept. 10. He said the House and Senate need time to negotiate a final bill; the Senate has already passed its version of the bill.
Owens said that to date, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., have declined to schedule a vote on the legislation.