Most of August is considered “district working days” for members of the House of Representatives.
But as the first Pennsylvanian to lead the House Agriculture Committee since before the Civil War, the month has included travel both in the district and across the country for Congressman Glenn Thompson. The committee has held a series of listening sessions on the Farm Bill, the current version of which expires at the end of next month.
“The Farm Bill touches the lives of every American family, multiple times a day, and provides resources and safety-net programs for farm families,” Thompson posted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the farm bill “is an omnibus, multiyear law that sets the stage for the nation’s food and farm systems.
“It includes multiple titles, or sections, that intersect policy areas including conservation, rural energy development, nutrition assistance and aid to new and beginning farmers and ranchers.”
Per the Congressional Research Service, that bill spans multiple years and “governs an array of agricultural and food programs. It provides an opportunity for policymakers to comprehensively and periodically address agricultural and food issues.”
The bill, per the CRS, typically focuses on “farm commodity program support for a handful of staple commodities- corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice, peanuts, dairy, and sugar.”
The current farm bill expires at the end of September.
According to WPSU who spoke to Thompson at Penn State’s Ag Progress Days, Thompson said more time may be needed to get the bill across the finish line.
“I think there’s going to have to be an extension only because there’s a lot of moving parts,” Thompson told WPSU, telling the outlet that the Ag Committee will move before the bill expires though other expiring legislation is also competing for space on the House floor.
The hope is that any extension would be short term.
A series of listening sessions have been held across the country. C-SPAN broadcast one such session held on Aug. 2 in Redwood County, Minnesota. There, Thompson called it “just an honor and a privilege to be able to really to work for american ag – for the american farmer.
“The current farm bill is set to expire this year,” he said. “Without a doubt the most important part of the farm bill process is to hear from farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, processors – the people of rural america – so we know what’s working what’s not and where you need the most support.”
The Farm Bill has been a priority for Thompson since before this term of Congress commenced. He identified it as a top priority in an interview with the Times Observer last October, At that time, he outlined three options for the legislation: let it expire which he called “not an option” as it would take farm regulations back to the era of the Dust Bowl; extend the current bill which is just “kicking the can” or institute a new bill which is the “only option.”
“We’re way behind,” he stressed. “It’s going to be pretty intense.”
Pennsylvania’s top Ag official views Thompson as the right person to lead the Farm Bill effort.
“We’re lucky to have GT (Thompson) here at this moment in American history,” Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding told the Warren County Farm Bureau last week in a visit to Warren County, “particularly in the way that he does it.”
Redding particularly highlighted Thompson’s “sensitivities to the Allegheny National Forest as a “prominent piece of our map.
“We have somebody who understands the forestry title,” Redding said.