Audio of Cochran Remarks: http://1.usa.gov/1b31CLz
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, today offered his thoughts on the prospects of Congress completing a new, five-year farm bill early next year.
Cochran addressed work on the farm bill during remarks to the Senate following his participation in the latest Friday morning conference meeting with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Representatives Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the House Agriculture Committee chairman and ranking member.
“I’m pleased to say that we are making progress, but there are still decisions that lie ahead of us. I am hopeful that on both sides of the aisle in both bodies, we can come together on a farm bill agreement that will reform and modernize programs, produce budget savings at the same time, and provide certainty about the government’s role to producers and consumers alike,” Cochran said.
Farm bill negotiators are working toward producing an agreement that can be considered next month by the conference committee and then both houses of Congress. The chief negotiators have been meeting regularly since the initial farm bill conference meeting on Oct. 30.
“We have been working to reach an agreement on a new, five-year farm bill that we can take to the House and the Senate and, in collaboration and working through our differences, make progress and establish a framework for our agriculture sector to continue to contribute in an important way in the economic life of our nation,” Cochran said.
The agriculture industry contributes to more than 20 percent of Mississippi’s total economy, representing an important source of employment and income to Mississippians. The state has more than 40,000 farms and roughly 30 million acres of farm and forestland.