In spite of the federal government shutdown and Congressional gridlock, NCBA continues to push for resolution on a five-year Farm Bill and other key issues in Washington, D.C. On this week’s Beltway Beef audio report, Kristina Butts, NCBA’s Executive Director of Government Affairs, outlined some of those efforts.

Recent natural disasters, Butts says, such as last year’s droughts, fires, floods and most recently early and destructive snow storms in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, have illustrated the need for disaster assistance provisions for farmers and ranchers. The 2008 Farm Bill, which was temporarily extended, included disaster assistance provisions but only for four years, so producers affected by these recent disasters are left with considerable uncertainty.

NCBA continues to push for passage of a five-year Farm Bill in spite of the current shutdown, Butts says. The House of Representatives and the Senate have passed their respective versions of a bill, which now need to be resolved in conference. Unlike the Senate bill, the House version removes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, to be considered in a separate bill. Butts says the House reportedly will appoint their conferees this week, suggesting the process is moving forward.