Congress Plans Farm Bill Extension

With only a few days left until the nation goes over the fiscal cliff (and with the possibility of a new five-year farm bill appearing increasingly distant) House and Senate agricultural leaders are quietly discussing the possibility of passing a temporary farm bill extension.

For the past several months, rural politicians and farm advocacy groups have rallied against a temporary extension of the farm bill, hoping to push through the passage of a new five-year bill rather than passing the buck into the next year. While the effort to pass a new farm bill gained some momentum in the summer, House Republicans indefinitely stalled it.

Some farmers hoped that the farm bill could be rolled into a fiscal cliff compromise, but with Speaker of the House John Boehner apparently losing control of his party, it appears increasingly unlikely that a budget deal will be reached.

As such, congressional leaders are meeting to discuss a potential extension of the currently expired farm bill. A temporary extension would prevent price increases and the elimination of vital federal aid, buying Congress more time to hammer out a final agreement in a toxic political climate. However, the extension would also include direct payment subsidies, a $5 billion a year aid program that has been eliminated by the House and Senate as wasteful.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer