Ag Secretary Details Consequences of Not Passing New Farm Bill

Congress returns from their summer recess today, and once again a deadline is looming on the farm bill. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says if the House doesn’t take action on the Farm Bill very soon – he sees two imminent consequences…

“Brazil could potentially be in a position to retaliate against American agricultural products as a result of us losing a case in the WTO, it could be $850 annually of retaliatory measures annually by Brazil if they choose to do so after October 1. If this lingers for months as it has in the past, then we are looking at permanent law coming into effect and that would be very distorting to the market.”

Vilsack says extending the current farm bill is not a viable answer…

“The weather has made the case and provided for greater stability in farm country than we would have seen without crop insurance and the safety net. The problem is you really risk a situation where some of the people in Congress who want to reduce the deficit are looking at the farm programs to do that, and you run the risk of losing direct payments and having nothing to replace them. If we extend the existing programs, it doesn’t provide disaster assistance and doesn’t deal with the Brazilian cotton issue and runs the risk of Congress scooping the money from direct payments and not using to create a stronger and more defensible safety net. There are significant risks in further delay.”

The 2012 Farm Bill extension will expire September 30th.


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