Farmers Watching Farm Bill Process

Farmers are nervously watching as House and Senate representatives negotiate a compromise farm bill that is acceptable enough to farmers and to Republicans and Democrats to pass both houses of Congress. While many farmers are trying to stay optimistic, the ongoing delays and the constant failures of a divided Congress to come to an agreement have led to a growing nervousness across the farm sector.
The increasing pessimism of the farm sector is not surprising given the recent history of the farm bill. For about two years, the typically uncontroversial farm bill has been stalled in Congress (with House Republicans refusing to pass a bill that doesn’t contain massive cuts to nutritional subsidies).
The longer that Congress goes without passing a farm bill the more uncertain farmers become. According to one Arkansas farmer, “It’s the not knowing” that’s the hardest. “It’s like if you don’t have all your tools,” he said. “You don’t have all the information to obtain a production loan and everybody has to have a production loan. Right now, no one knows what to expect.”
While the joint conference committee has committed to passing a new bill by December 13, more than a year of failures and missed deadlines has done little to reassure jittery farmers.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer