MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) hosted a West Virginia Farm Bill Priorities Roundtable in Morgantown with U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee and primary author of the upcoming farm bill.

Senator Boozman has made the roundtable presentation in 20 other states.

Last week, both chambers passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through early March.

“We’re not doing these appropriations bills,” Capito said. “We have an extension until March, so wouldn’t you think that would be the time Senator Schumer would put these bills on the floor? But it’s not happening.”

The Farm Bill is typically passed every five years and covers things from crop insurance to healthy food access for low-income families and farmer training programs. The current Farm Bill officially expired on September 30, 2023, and has been extended, but Capito said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is not moving the Farm Bill or any other key pieces of legislation to keep the government operating.

“In the last 13 months, we’ve only spent 8 hours on appropriations,” Capito said. “This is a major responsibility for the senate, the house, and the president to get this right every year, and we are now six months behind.”

In West Virginia, an estimated 151,000 households access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is one of the top funding lines of the bill.

“Here’s another major piece of legislation that’s coming before us that impacts the food supply, nutrition, our ag community, many jobs across the country, and we’re in another extension,” Capito said.

The bill funds farm and commodity programs that produce jobs and generate economic activity across the state. Also facing uncertainty is the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which subsidizes non-commodities like strawberries and leafy greens.

“It’s something I think gets taken for granted in certain parts of the country,” Capito said. “Even in a state like mine, it’s a big economic driver; it employs a lot of people, and it feeds a lot of people.”