The U.S. House on Thursday rejected a new farm bill. A lot of smart people thought the legislation would pass. Farm groups have been working for as long as two years on developing a new farm bill, but roadblocks keep popping up.
The situation reminds me of a popular arcade game known as Whac-A-Mole, in which players use a mallet to pound down plastic moles when they spring from their holes. In everyday usage, “whack-a-mole” has come to mean a repetitious task that has no resolution; you think you’ve completed a job, but then it pops up to demand your attention again.
It’s probably unfair to connect “whack-a-mole” with efforts to pass a new farm bill. The task isn’t futile; we’ll get one eventually. But the job is taking a long time and requiring a lot of whacking.
Two days before Thursday’s vote, I visited on the phone with an area commodity group leader. He was sitting in an airport, waiting for a flight to Washington, D.C., where he would once again promote farm bill provisions that members of his group want. He’s a positive guy and didn’t grumble or or complain about the trip. Even so, he clearly wanted a new farm bill as quickly as possible.
Is there anyone involved in production agriculture who doesn’t?