Farm Bill Extension a Real Possibility

American Farm Bureau officials have reaffirmed their opposition to another farm bill extension. AFBF President Bob Stallman says another farm bill extension is a cop-out and urged producers to keep the heat on Congress to pass a thus far elusive five-year farm bill. AFBF Director Dale Moore puts it this way…

“For those of us in agriculture, they have to deal with the uncertainty that Congress is saying ‘yes we want to help you but so far its taken us 2.5 years to get there’”.

Moore says it’s not as if there are big policy issues standing in the way of getting the safety net, crop insurance and conservation differences sorted out. The problem – of course – is the vast House-Senate difference over the ideal size of food stamp cuts – keeping House Leaders so far from entering negotiations with the Senate. But if Congress punts again for failure to pass a comprehensive farm bill in just nine-working days in September – another extension is a real possibility…
 

“Until we get a new farm bill done, a number of the livestock producers as well as many fruit and vegetable and tree farmers, they have been waiting since 2011 for Congress to address that their disaster provisions expired in Sept 2011.”

And then there are reforms to the conservation and commodity programs – including a rewrite of the safety net programs and elimination of direct payments…

“We saw last year when the farm bill didn’t get done and got extended, the budget impact was such that the elimination of the direct payments that has been talked about for the last 2.5 years, that is paying not only for the new provision sin the farm bill but contributing to deficit reduction.”

But another extension means no savings – possibly even more spending – and less money available for reforms in a would-be 2013 Farm Bill – plus the uncertainty farmers and their bankers will face going into the next crop season.


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