Farm Bill Delay Likely

The 2013 Farm Bill, which is still languishing in congressional conference committees, is likely to see even more delays with a government shutdown and debt ceiling debate looming over Washington. While some farm organizations are optimistic that a new bill can still be passed, given the recent dysfunction in Congress, it appears less and less likely that anything other than another temporary extension will ever make it to the president’s desk.
For more than a year, the farm bill has remained stalled in Congress. Last fall, the House refused to vote on new farm legislation, perhaps reluctant to pass a major spending bill in the middle of a contentious election. While the House has passed a bill this summer, it splits farm legislation from food stamps and is unlikely to pass the Senate.
However, party bickering over farm finance seems to be taking a backseat to an impending government shutdown. With the House refusing to pass a continuing resolution funding the government without defunding or delaying Obamacare, and with a debt ceiling debate that could threaten to implode the global economy looming later this year, most political leaders seem focused on financial concerns rather than farm issues.
Some farm organizations are already predicting that the House refuses to cooperate in the congressional conference and passes another temporary extension of the current farm bill. “My guess is they are not going to conference,” said Ferd Hoefner, policy director of the small-farm group National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer