WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAU) - One of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators was bogged down in something besides Washington legislation and gridlock Wednesday. Tammy Baldwin had an opportunity to put on waders and find out first-hand what the cranberry harvest is all about during a stop near Wisconsin Rapids.
The Senator visited the Fanning Cranberry operation and the Ocean Spray plant, and spoke afterwards that Washington needs to finish a Farm Bill. “I’m heartened by the fact that there are now active discussions going on between the House and the Senate to resolve the differences between each house’s version of the Farm Bill, but I’m hoping that now that we’re emerging from harvest season, that my colleagues will be hearing a lot from the agricultural community about how important it is that they get this job done.”
Democrats and Republicans have been disagreeing about the Farm Bill, and whether & not to separate nutrition programs and also how much to spend on various parts of the bill. Baldwin says the lack of action is hurting America’s producers. “What about farmers? They are the ones with the most at stake, and that’s really what this is all about. It’s about managing risk.”
According to the Senator, the Farm Bill is a vital risk management tool for agricultural producers because they cannot control weather, prices, and several other variables that affect their crops and livestock.
Baldwin insists the final Farm Bill keeps the risk management programs and the nutrition programs in the same bill, because she says they are intimately connected. “There are people who are hungry in this country, and there are people who, because of the recession lost work and are having trouble making ends meet and needing this extra assistance, and I hope that’s one we can basically end up where the Senate was when we passed our farm bill.”
Discussions are underway, but Baldwin isn’t sure when a final package will be ready to vote on.
(Senator Baldwin's interview can be heard in our Newmakers Interview podcast section, here.)