The Farm Bill debate continues to drag on.
Fortunately, the debate is expected to close by the end of this month (two years later).
Unfortunately, there are looming concerns about one amendment in particular – the King amendment.
This amendment, created by rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, not only threatens the well-being and safety of Florida consumers, animals, and workers, but also robs Florida of its ability to create and implement sound agricultural laws in the future.
A federal overreach?
Sounds like it.
What’s more, Florida will not be the only state to suffer. This amendment will override numerous state and local animal protection laws all over the country. Laws on animal welfare, food safety, labeling, importing, pesticide testing, and livestock testing for disease will be nixed.
Specific Florida laws that will be threatened by the King amendment to the Farm Bill include those that:
- Protect horses against maiming and mutilation.
- Require pesticide testing/information for farm worker safety.
- Require provisions for farm labor contractors.
- Require standards for wastewater removal related to tomato and citrus processing.
So, we know where King stands on all of this, but where does Congress stand?
To date, 180 members have stated opposition to the King amendment.
And the opposition expands wide and far – beyond Congress.
80 groups representing consumer, environmental and animal protection, sustainable agriculture and other interests oppose it, including the National Conference of State Legislators, Association of County Executives, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the Consumer Federation of America. What’s more, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Iowa Farmers Union view this amendment as troublesome.
With so much opposition, how is it possible that this might make it into the final draft of the Farm Bill?
Well, King sits in a position of power as he is a member of the very committee that will be finalizing the Farm Bill. Go figure.
Who knows what the final draft will look like, but if it looks like King wants it to look, it will be incredibly devastating for animals and the state’s that have worked so hard to implement effective animal protection laws.
Here’s hoping that the widespread opposition of the majority gets heard!
Bankers South, an ag lending company based in Florida, is here to assist you and your Florida farmland financing. Have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!