Movement of Farm Bill From Here Questionable

House Speaker John Boehner is making no commitments to bring to the floor before the August Congressional recess the farm bill just passed by the House Ag Committee. It wasn’t the answer agriculture wanted to hear – not with current farm law set to expire September 30th. But Speaker Boehner at his regular weekly briefing did not close the door on taking up the House farm bill before the August recess…

“I think Chairman Lucas and the committee have done a lot of good work. There are no decisions about it coming to the floor at this point.”

Boehner repeated that answer when asked if he’d bring up in July the bill that just passed in committee 35 to 11.

American Farm Bureau Federation Farm Policy Specialist Mary Kay Thatcher explains that the new farm bill will probably not be approved before the current one expires…

“I think its very unlikely we finish this before September 30th. Our best option is to have a conference committee between what the House Ag Committee approved yesterday and what the Senate approved, and hope to find a vehicle that is moving. Possibly one of the tax extenders that is expiring in December, the lame duck session- tying this to that, using some of the cost savings, presumably somewhere between the $23 and $35 billion dollars that is being saved and try to use that to offset the cost of extending a tax provisions and to get the farm bill done.”

A big part of Boehner’s GOP Caucus feels the farm bill – at almost one-trillion dollars over 10-years – spends too much. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Democrats this week in slamming the bills 10-year 16.5-billion dollar food stamp cut and the 3-million SNAP recipients who might lose benefits. But it was the bill’s dairy reforms that seemed to bother Boehner the most…

“We have a Soviet style dairy program in America today. One of the proposals in this farm bill would actually make it worse.”

Referring to a new dairy marketing stability program authored by Top House Ag Democrat Collin Peterson – who successfully fought off Committee amendments to gut his milk supply-control approach. But the Speaker says he needs more time to make up his mind on the next step…

“There are parts of the farm bill that I could be critical of, but having been a committee chairman I understand the difficulty in trying to put together a very complicated bill. I’ll reserve the rest of my comments on the farm bill until I take a closer look at it.”

Not the kind of timely commitment farm leaders are looking for with just 12 legislative days left in a packed schedule before the August recess. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.

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