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House Leadership Looking for the Best Way Forward on Farm Bill

Now that the House is planning to act on the farm bill by extending the 2008 version – the leadership is working to sort out the details regarding the best path forward for addressing drought conditions and farm policy. For one thing – House leaders need to determine what kind of rule on amendments will govern debate. The Republican leadership in the House has generally pursued a policy of open rules. At least when talking about the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill – Ranking Member Collin Peterson said he was hopeful the Rules Committee would agree to a modified open rule – limiting the number of amendments. Another option is a closed rule – which would not allow for amendments. The House released language for a one-year extension of the current farm bill – including supplemental ag disaster assistance – on Friday afternoon – but it is unclear if this is seeking an actual extension or providing an avenue for a Senate-House farm bill conference. The measure to extend the current farm bill is expected to come up this week (week of July 30th). If it is approved – it will be conferenced with the Senate-passed farm bill in September.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow expressed that she was open to the House approach if they intend to send a bill that will be used to negotiate the farm bill during August. But she says a short-term extension is bad for farmers and the agricultural economy. If Congress kicks the can down the road with a short-term extension – Stabenow noted there will be no reform, direct payments will continue, we will lose the opportunity for major deficit reduction and deliver a real blow to the nation’s economic recovery. At the end of the day – she says it’s important to give farmers certainty with a full farm bill and keeping the ag economy growing. 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.