Policy specialists discuss farm bill

While the next U.S. farm bill is not scheduled for passage until 2012, the work of shaping the legislation already is under way on Capitol Hill. With that in mind, organizers of the 2010 Commodity Classic, held recently at Anaheim, Calif., brought together the lobbyists for the two largest general farm organizations to discuss current issues facing production agriculture, and offer a taste of the oncoming debate toward the 2012 farm bill. Chandler Goule, vice president of government relations for the National Farmers Union, and Mary Kay Thatcher, director of agriculture policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation, offered their viewpoints to High Plains Journal columnist Sara Wyant of Agri-Pulse Communications. The meeting room was packed–no doubt because board members from all four commodity groups that host the convention were about to have policy-shaping board meetings of their own following the session, and those leaders wanted to hear what the two general farm lobbyists had to say.