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Important agricultural issues must be addressed during lame-duck session of Congress

WASHINGTON—Some of the most pressing issues facing agriculture and the nation must be addressed during the lame-duck session of Congress that began Nov. 13, American Farm Bureau Federation leaders have noted.

There will be plenty to hash out in the new year as President Obama begins his second term and the 113th Congress comes to Washington, said Mark Maslyn, AFBF executive director of public policy.

Maslyn said it is vital that the farm bill, expiring tax provisions and sequestration issues related to the so-called fiscal cliff be dealt with this year.

“It is our hope, of course, that Congress will resolve its impasse over the farm bill and get that taken care of,” Maslyn said. “One of the biggest pauses of the economy is the uncertain nature of our tax code and farm bill. Producers need to be able to plan and, as best as they can, predict the future, and resolution of those two issues—taxes and the farm bill—will help producers with that uncertainty.”

Maslyn said the new Congress and the president also will need to address international trade and farm labor.

“Farmers and ranchers export a third of what they produce to foreign markets. Ninety-five percent of consumers live abroad. Trade has to be a higher priority for the administration and Congress,” he said.

Maslyn said AFBF is particularly interested in advancing farm labor and immigration reform.

“This is an issue that has to be resolved at the center of each party. It will require bipartisan leadership by the president and by members of the House and Senate. Agriculture has always operated in a bipartisan way.

The House Agriculture Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee have historically been bipartisan in how they approach issues like the farm bill or environmental issues, and we’re going to continue to do that and urge that they work together across party lines to put the country first and solve some of these issues that affect not only agriculture but also American society.”

Contact Cyndie Sirekis, AFBF public relations, at 202-406-3649.


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