Now, when he's not harvesting corn or soybeans, Bruce Rohwer's focus is on Washington, and what he calls an inactive Congress.
PAULLINA, Iowa (KTIV) -
The farm bill has been front and center, both on Capitol Hill and right here at home, but with Congress adjourning until after the election, the current bill will likely expire at the end of the month.
Bruce Rohwer has been farming for decades, but this summer's drought was rough on his 1,000 acres of crops. He expects his yields to be less than two-thirds of normal levels, but he says it's not as disastrous as it could have been.
"We're here to have a plentiful, reliable, food source for our nation," said Rohwer.
Now, when he's not harvesting corn or soybeans, his focus is on Washington, and what he calls an inactive Congress.
"The leadership of the House for whatever reason has decided not to proceed with the farm bill," said Rohwer.
Rohwer even went to the Democratic National Convention making it his mission to talk to lawmakers in non-agricultural states about the bill's impact. Meanwhile, Iowa Congressman, Republican Steve King says he pushed to have a new bill passed, but found out quickly it was a losing battle.
"We knew going into Washington that we were not going to be procedurally able to bring a farm bill before Congress this week, but to be there to try to get the leverage to get a commitment," said King.
With the current farm bill expiring on Sept. 30, Rohwer says it potentially complicates congressional funding for the future, including essential programs like crop insurance.
"We, as farmers, don't know for sure that it won't become a political football and get moved on down the line," said Rohwer.
With the Senate and the House ag committee getting bipartisan support for a new bill, plenty of people like Rohwer question the intentions of the house and accuse them of playing partisan politics.
King defends Speaker of the House John Boehner, saying he doesn't have the votes right now, but is committed to get the bill through, during the lame duck session.
"I don't think the leadership in the House is turning it into a political thing," said King. "Except to say that Nancy Pelosi has been telling her members to vote no and oppose the farm bill."
Still, King is optimistic that a long-term bill will be struck later this fall.
"I'm hopeful we can get a five-year farm bill done in lame duck session," said King.
Otherwise, as Rohwer suggests, a long winter of uncertainty could hit farmers.
Sixty-four lawmakers have signed a discharge position to overwrite Boehner's decision and bring the farm bill to a vote.
King did not the sign that petition. He says would have been ineffective and would have undermined his efforts to get on the conference committee when the bill does come back up for discussion in November.
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