The Republican in charge of the House Ag Committee in Congress hopes to pass a new farm bill by the end of this year.
Chairman G.T. Thompson of Pennsylvania says listening sessions about the bill have been held in more than 30 states, and La Crosse had one of those sessions on Wednesday. Thompson is happy to see bipartisan agreement on programs to help farmers.
“Between the listening sessions, the hearings, the portals that we had for the public and for members, ” Thompson told reporters, “we probably have, undoubtedly have had more input for this farm than any time in the past, and that’s how we make this a highly effective farm bill.”
Thompson told the La Crosse audience that the country can’t afford to lose more dairy farms. Nearly half of the dairy farms that operated in Wisconsin 10 years ago have gone out of business, and the total is now down to about 61-hundred.
After attending dozens of listening sessions around the country, Thompson says there are common concerns just about everywhere.
“Recurring themes are the importance of protecting crop insurance, ” he said. “That’s very consistent everywhere I go. Our effort is not just to protect it, but trying to strengthen it.”
Thompson spoke in person to farmers, while area Congressman Derrick Van Orden attended by video. Van Orden was host of the event, but family matters kept him from being in La Crosse.