Tuesday, the House Rules Committee is expected to consider the debate rules for a one year extension of the Farm Bill coupled with a disaster assistance package. The extension could be debated on the House floor as early as Wednesday, leaving Congress with two days to act before they adjourn for the August recess.

Western Growers president and CEO Tom Nassif said he opposes an extension because it would greatly reduce the gains made for the specialty crop title in the Senate and House versions of the bill as there is no baseline for the title.

“Western Growers opposes the one-year extension, unless it would yield a conference of the full Farm Bill,” Nassif said. “The extension falls short of the needs of fresh fruit, vegetable and tree nut growers and would completely eliminate the specialty crop research initiative that is used successfully nationwide for food safety research and programs. An extension of current law not only sets back investment in programs critical to the safe production of nutritious food needed to fight the growing epidemic of obesity in America, it leaves farmers with uncertainty about the future and little security when making business plans.”

Western Growers strongly supports congressional efforts to reauthorize the entire Farm Bill this year. Members of both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees did tremendous work and produced critical enhancements and reforms to key programs for the specialty crop industry and agriculture nationwide.

The Senate passed the full bill; now it’s time for Congressional leaders to allow the committees to conference their differences and produce a final bill prior to September expiration of the current Farm Bill.