And the American Bankers Association, one of the top banking groups in D.C., has tapped a team from Monument Advocacy to work on this year’s farm bill.
— The team includes John Weber, who previously served as legislative director to Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), the chair of the House Agriculture subcommittee on commodity markets, digital assets and rural development; Lilia McFarland Horder, a former USDA official and T.A. Hawks, a former minority staff director for the Senate Agriculture Committee, in addition to Monument’s Kimberly Ellis and Rich Thomas.
— ABA laid out its priorities for the farm bill in testimony submitted ahead of a Senate Ag hearing on the massive agriculture and nutrition policy legislation earlier in February, calling for legislation that would make tax-exempt income earned from interest from certain agricultural real estate, which the industry said would allow banks to lower interest rates and remove a key barrier to entry for young, beginning and underserved farmers and ranchers.
— The group also asked lawmakers to beef up a cadre of other farm lending programs, like the FSA guaranteed loan program and down payment assistance program and to reinstate a program meant to help offset high interest rates.
— In a separate letter to House and Senate budget leaders, this March, ABA pushed for more funding for farm safety net programs to reduce the need for “ad hoc” disaster aid for the industry.
— ABA is the second entity to hire Monument this year for farm bill lobbying. The advocacy arm of the Bipartisan Policy Center retained the firm in January to work generally on issues related to the bill, which expires later this year.