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Farmer participation in farm bill development critical

Tough times continue in farm country. A farmer-member organization lobbyist says farmer participation in developing the next farm bill is critical now more than ever.

Mary Kay Thatcher is a government and policy lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

She says continued farmer participation in development of the next farm bill is important.

“We need a really robust safety net without sufficient funding. It is going to be a very tough slug but the good news is we have many farmers engaged now because of low prices. That engagement is going to have to continue if we want to be successful.”

Thatcher says they would like bilateral trade talks to start as soon as, possible since TPP is off the table.

“We need to rally around and get a common focus to try to move forward with a couple bilateral trade deals very soon. The President said he prefers those over multilateral trade negotiations. We wanted TPP but if that is what he says we will have to work around it.”

Thatcher spoke to me and other farm reporters at NAFB’s Washington Watch at the nation’s capital earlier last week.