Roberts, Conaway Talk About GMO Food Labeling Measure, Next Farm Bill

Posted on 03/09/2017 10:26 AM

Roberts: Congress ‘running out of time’ for GMO labeling solution


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Chairmen of the House and Senate Ag Committees talked about major farm and food policy matters during a Bloomberg Government event today.

Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) revealed he will be meeting today and tomorrow with top panel Democrat Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) to try to “settle our differences” on labeling food made from genetically modified organisms. “We have to get it fixed,” though most major companies are prepared to abide by the Vermont law that takes effect July 1 if a solution is not reached, Roberts noted.

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) said he is “frustrated” with Stabenow’s lack of movement, and that he is sticking with the House position on the topic until she puts something on paper he can negotiate with. Even with a Senate compromise, Conaway said that he stands by his voluntary-only labeling law, passed in the House in 2015. “The House has a bill, and we’d be perfectly fine if the Senate passed it as is and sent it to the president,” Conaway said.

Regarding the next farm bill, Conaway said, “What does it do to the cost of food” will determine which issues he addresses in the next omnibus farm bill.

Roberts said the current farm bill is still being implemented and “a lot of hearings” will be held next year in preparation for crafting the next one.

Conaway said he expects to propose changes to the SNAP/food stamp program later this year and that there are “traps” and “structural issues” that keep people from leaving the food aid and other welfare programs.

Roberts said he is glad that the organic livestock certification rule comment period was extended though he said the rule is “off base” and probably unnecessary.


 

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material; therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

     

 

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