By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Kansas First District Congressman Tracey Mann wants work to continue on a long-term solution for farmers, even though a stopgap measure has been passed.
"We've got to remember why we do farm bills in the first place and why they are five years," Mann said. "They are five years to provide some certainty for producers. Long enough to be certain, but short enough that it can be opened up and looked at to reflect the times. If you look at farming conditions, specifically input costs today versus 2018, when the current farm bill was passed, you know things are dramatically different. That's why five years is the appropriate length."
What Mann wants to make sure doesn't happen is a constant line of stopgap measures, as has happened often with the federal budget as a whole.
"I've been very frustrated with how slow this process has been," Mann said. "It has been extended for one year. The current farm bill now expires Sept. 30 of next year. Just because it got extended a couple weeks ago, doesn't mean that we shouldn't be working on and pushing hard for a five year bill. That's exactly what I've been doing."
Further, it is important that the farm bill, which has traditionally been a bipartisan piece of legislation, doesn't get bogged down in even year electoral politics.
"If you delay too far, then we get into the election, then into the lame duck period," Mann said. "There's no reason we just don't get this thing done right now. That's what we've been jumping up and down, telling everybody who will listen why that's the case and it's full steam ahead."
Agricultural groups across the political spectrum are urging that a new five-year bill be worked on in early 2024.