Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler’s Update on the Farm Bill
NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler explains that current farm and nutrition legislation expired over the weekend. Congress is in recess until after the November 6th election, there is no extension in place. Troxler says that most impacts on commodities will not be felt until after January, and that the 2008 farm bill covers all of 2012's crops, even if they haven't been harvested yet. The first effects wil likely be seen when winter wheat is harvested next spring. There are more immediate concerns about dairy, international marketing and ag disaster programs, and there are about three dozen programs funded by the 2008 farm bill that don't have funding now tha tthe bill's expired….
“Everybody in agriculture is aggravated and disappointed that we don’t have a farm bill. The bad thing is that the house and senate are not coming back in session until after the November elections. Even then, it’s unclear if congress is going to pass the legislation before the end of the year or wait for a new congress to being its work in January. But when a new congress comes in, there are a lot of things that happen to slow down business in the beginning.
The good thing is that all of the 2012 crops are covered. The 2008 farm bill covers them even if they haven’t been harvested yet. We expect some impacts will be felt after January.
As winter wheat harvest begins next spring, it could be affected. We have other programs, such as the supplemental nutrition assistance program where the department delivers a lot of food to help. We have conservation research programs that will continue even without a new bill.
There was a big discussion at the National Meeting of the departments of agriculture on the impact on dairy. We are concerned about the dairy programs not being in effect, especially those that deal with the high cost of feed. We know now there is a big spike in feed costs because of high commodity prices.
We had a similar situation in 2007. We did pass the farm bill on December 26 in 2007. There is time to get something done this year, but congress really needs to make a commitment.”