WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Expressing "profound disappointment and anger" at the Senate's failure to move ahead with the farm bill, the leader of the nation's largest farm organization said farmers and ranchers will  "hold accountable those senators who have kept the measure bottled up."

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman, reacting to the failed cloture vote in the Senate yesterday that essentially blocked further progress on the bill this week, said: "The stalling tactics used by some senators this week have jeopardized needed assistance for farmers. If the result is that we don't get a final bill until next year and the $73.5 billion allocated to agriculture in the budget is cut, we'll know who to blame."
 
Stallman said he is urging all Farm Bureau members to contact their senators and let them know that "it will be a slap in farmers' faces" if the procedural delays result in a trimmed-back farm bill. "We need the bill finished in the Senate immediately and we need a conference committee to approve a final bill before the Christmas recess," he said. "Otherwise the funding everyone in agriculture worked so hard all year to maintain will be put at risk. That means farmers will find it difficult to get loans to plant next year. It will create great uncertainty throughout the industry."

"It is clear that opponents of the farm bill are stalling and using procedural delays,"  Stallman asserted. "The House, made up of 435 members, completed its farm bill in three days and considered 45 amendments. In contrast, the Senate has debated the farm bill for all or part of nine days, without an end in sight. With cloture, there would have been ample time for opponents to offer their amendments."
 
With another cloture vote scheduled for next Tuesday, Stallman said there still is an opportunity to get the farm bill on track. "This cloture motion must pass. The House, which passed its farm bill in October, and the senators who have labored mightily to get this done are absolutely correct that we need a farm bill this year. Any senator who votes against cloture will be telling farmers they don't care if farmers suffer the consequences of no farm bill or one that is scaled back."