Yes, I’m prolific today. Post #3. But I can’t help myself. It seems every time we get close to Farm Bill closure, the House orders a drum of herbicide and we’re back to plowing under all that has emerged to date. The latest passage in this saga (pun intended… there was no passage of anything in the House) is well-chronicled in this Politico item entitled, How the farm bill failed, by David Rogers. While it gives a blow-by-blow of all that happened – probably more than you’d ever want to know – it does include, buried in the middle of the story – this one, almost lyrical, journalistic sentence: …the bill remains one of the great untold political stories of this Congress, not just for the regional intrigue but the opportunity it offers to reshape a historic safety net — important to food and the land, the poor and a vital piece of the American economy.
Speaking in terms of our own self-interest, there are potential parts of the legislation (the Senate version in particular) that would provide a significant, low-budget boost to the renewable chemicals industry at a cost which is virtually a rounding error in the nearly trillion dollar package. But we’re like passenger strangers in the way back of John Candy’s polka band van in Home Alone. In other words, this trip is all about bigger, broader political issues with little attention being paid to renewable chemicals in this vortex of food stamp, subsidy, insurance, big farm and small farm, and urban versus rural faction issues.
So the Farm Bill has an extended growing season. Let’s hope a permanent, hard, legislative frost doesn’t set in before meaningful progress can begin anew.