Now isn't the time to stand on the sidelines on this issue. I understand that many have legitimate concerns with parts of both bills. The Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts likes parts of the Senate version better than the House version, such as the Senate's language on the Conservation Stewardship Program. At the same time, we like some provisions in the House bill better than those passed by the Senate, such as the provisions in the House bill concerning the Upstream Flood Control Program.
These are differences, to be sure, but not so great that they can't be worked out if the bill can move forward. The bottom line is that folks of goodwill in Congress are working hard to make sure the needs of agriculture and rural America are addressed. They're reaching across party lines to do the work folks back home expect them to do.
House leadership needs to recognize this and bring the farm bill forward before we find out the consequences of inaction.
Pope is executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts.