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House Agriculture Committee approves draft of Farm Bill

The House Agriculture Committee forwarded a draft of a five-year Farm Bill with numerous measures supporting biotech by a 33-21 bipartisan vote early on May 24.

The bill, H.R. 8467, introduced by Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), was passed out of the committee after more than 13 hours of negotiation. Biotechnology was a frequent topic of discussion, in areas ranging from sustainable aviation fuel, to research, to uniform definitions for biobased product labeling—and more.

“By including provisions that advance biotechnology innovation in the Farm Bill, we as a country commit to advancing science-based solutions that help us feed and fuel our world while protecting the environment,” said John Torres, Director of Federal Government Relations – Agriculture & Environment at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). “We are proud of BIO’s input and influence on this draft.”

Biotech concerns

BIO is still analyzing the impacts of a host of amendments to H.R. 8467. Overall, the draft speaks directly to BIO’s membership, supporting their innovative work in the lab, field, and marketplace, Torres said. It would:

  • Advance and enlarge the “virtuous circle” of biotechnology-driven innovation.
  • Treat biotechnology as a national security imperative.
  • Identify and break down barriers to accessing medicines, in animal health and pandemic preparedness provisions.
  • Support biotech’s unique role in food security and climate impact.

The bill would have to pass the full House and Senate before it can be signed by the president.

“Today’s markup is just one of many steps yet to be taken to achieve a bipartisan agreement that will guide the work of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),” said John Torres.

While there is more work to be done, Torres noted the importance of this latest step.

“BIO commends the leadership of Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), the members of the House Agriculture Committee, and Committee staff on their hard work and dedication to advancing a new Farm Bill,” he said. “We look forward to continuing our work with members, association partners, coalitions, agencies, and our friends in Congress to get a bipartisan bill passed and sent to the President.”