Local farmers hope new farm bill passes before September deadline
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Local growers are concerned with a farm bill that is expiring at the end of the month. They say their biggest concern is getting a new bill in place before time runs out.
Representative Dan Newhouse is traveling across Washington and stopped in Yakima on Thursday to hear from the farming community about the farm bill.
The farm bill funds many agricultural programs and assists with U.S. exports all over the world.
One local tree fruit grower, Frank Lyall said he is concerned with the number of farmers we are losing here in the valley.
"I'd like to speak about the lost in numbers of our farmers over the last 20 to 30 years," Lyall said. "I would say we're down probably 60 percent in Yakima County."
Newhouse said he hates to see farmers go and hopes negotiations with the farm bill can change that path.
"The challenges that we face in a very high intense labor agricultural area that we have here and some of the unique challenges we have of making sure we have that critical labor force," Newhouse said.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway is a part of farm bill discussions and getting a new one passed. Conaway said he hears local farmers talk about the stress of not knowing what the next farm bill will look like so he hopes to get one in place as soon as possible.
"I'm compelled to get this farm bill done," Conaway said. "In addition to policy reasons but in order to make producers lives just a little less difficult, the anxiety about what the farm bill looks like or doesn't look like, I can get that off the table."
The current farm bill was set in place in 2014 and expires at the end of September.