Congress Considers Farm Bill Extension

With the House and Senate releasing conflicting versions of the farm bill and with the expiration of the current farm bill only two months away, Congress is currently considering an extension of the current farm bill, on the off chance that a new bill cannot be passed in time.

For more than a year, Congress has discussed and delayed passage of a new farm bill. With the midterm elections in 2010 and the upcoming president election this November, many politicians on the left and the right have invested more energy in campaigning in their home districts and posturing for cameras than passing vital farm legislation.

While many politicians have repeatedly stated the importance of quickly passing a new farm bill, Congress has been quietly considering an extension of current legislation for months. According to South Dakota representative Kristi Noem, “Recognizing the challenges we face in Washington getting things done in an election year, we have had this discussion for the last year-and-a-half that an extension might have to be an option that we pursue.”

While some politicians have resigned themselves to a temporary extension, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has been pressuring Congress for months to pass a new bill, claiming that an extension, as opposed to new legislation, could threaten the health of the farm sector. In particular, he is worried that an extension of the currently existing legislation would not apply to already expired programs, many of which would offer farmers valuable drought protection that they badly need this summer.

“If an extension can be easily done, then so can a bill,” Vilsack said. If there is going to be a series of extensions, that’s just going to add uncertainty. It’s going to make life a lot more difficult.”

To learn more about agricultural financing opportunities contact a Farm Plus Financial representative by calling 866-929-5585 or by visiting

Follow us on: Twitter

Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer