Strain Heading Back to Washington as Work Starts on New Farm Bill

By Don Molino

During his daily report on the Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network, Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Stain reports he will be in Jennings Tuesday night for a joint meeting of the Rice Growers Association and the Louisiana Rice Council.  Some 200 to 300 people are expected to attend that gathering.

Then Strain heads back to Washington Thursday where he’ll be though Sunday but he promises to be back in time for the start of the legislature’s special session Monday morning.

Congress is starting work on the new farm bill and Strain says he and his fellow agriculture commissioners and secretaries have “put a line in the sand that we must protect those programs that grow the economy of the United States.”

Agriculture, Stain says, “is the foundation of the nation’s economy and the farm bill sets the road map for the largest and one of the most integrated industries in the US and in Louisiana. In the next fiscal year in Louisiana we will invest more than $200-million in conservation alone.”

The commissioner said they are committed to working with the congress to “craft a bill that provides the tools our producers need to be successful and provide consumers with a safe, high quality and affordable food supply.”

About 80 to 85% of each farm bill is tied up with the SNAP program, leaving production agriculture only about 14% of the $100-billion dollar legislation.