Farmers across the United States anxiously await Congress to pass a new farm bill package, but Mitt Walker, director of governmental and agricultural programs at the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA), said it's unlikely to see any legislation this year.

"Unfortunately, with it being an election year, there are very few days that the House will actually be in session between now and the end of this Congress," Walker said Thursday on "Rightside Radio."

The relevant portion begins around the 11:45 mark.

Walker said U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.), who chairs the House Committee on Agriculture, has visited Alabama many times and helped draft a "really strong bill for the agricultural community" that addresses inflation and other issues.

"With the slim majority … it is going to be a heavy, heavy lift to get a bill out of the House," Walker continued. "And unfortunately, the Senate is probably even further behind now."

A farm bill draft passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture in late May, but there's been little movement on the issue since. Though set to expire in 2023, the 2018 farm bill, or Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, has been extended through September 30 this year.

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"The Senate bill is off to a slower start," Walker said. "There's two frameworks that have been released, one by the majority and one by the minority. So actually, we're looking at kind of three different visions right now for what a final farm bill would look like. So far, you know, what's out there has been well received that the Republicans have put out. It would be good for the ag community, but a long, long way to go to get that passed."

Walker commended U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) and U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) for putting some Alabama priorities in the farm bill frameworks.

"Both of them got quite a few of their priorities included in the draft text or the frameworks of the two bills," he said. "So, you know, shout out to them for going to bat for Alabama farmers and doing a really good job."

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