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Passing a disaster assistance bill for agriculture will set the stage for the next farm bill.

Ideally, lawmakers will address contentious issues related to cotton and dairy programs in the disaster bill and get them out of the way before the farm bill debate heats up. Then the Senate is likely to take up the House-passed disaster aid bill, amend it and send it back as a package.

We know you’re anxious to see action on the farm bill but progress is often slow. However, if all of agriculture doesn’t work together, nothing will get done. The House is ahead of the Senate in terms of progress on the farm bill, and overall timing of the legislation is uncertain.

I predict that the Senate will release its version of the farm bill in the first few months of 2018.

As far as what the upcoming farm bill should include, the current safety net is not adequate and changes are needed, specifically the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for crops.

We also need to make sure exports of farm goods are protected and enhanced, not diminished. I encourage both farmers and ranchers to make certain the case is made on the importance of ag trade whenever you have the opportunity. 

Moran is a Republican senator from Kansas

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