Drought Conditions Pressure House

The ongoing drought currently affecting farmers across the country is adding to the sense of urgency regarding the farm bill. Many farmers fear that unless a new bill is passed before the current legislation expires in September, they may face serious economic hardships as a result of increasingly severe weather conditions.

After the Senate passed their version of the 2012 Farm Bill, and following the House Agriculture Committee’s passage of a draft of the House Farm Bill, many farmers across the country believed that they would finally see congressional action on the omnibus farm legislation.

In particular, farmers saw the strengthening of crop insurance programs and the reauthorization of drought and disaster protection programs, elements in both the House and Senate bills, as a major step forward for farm safety nets and the farm sector.

The drought protection programs, and the ongoing drought currently affecting most states in the country, is adding to the pressure on the House to pass their version of the farm bill. If the current farm bill is extended, rather than new legislation being passed, vital drought programs, which have already expired, will not be renewed, leaving many farmers vulnerable to the severe weather.

In addition to a bipartisan coalition of Representatives, several Senators are joining the calls on the House for rapid action. Referring to the farm bill, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow recently stated, “The speaker needs to bring it up on the floor. And frankly, we need to add some additional disaster assistance for 2012 as part of that. But we’ve got to get this done.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer