Farm Bill Delays Holding Up Local Production

Delays over the passage of the 2012 Farm Bill are stalling local agricultural planning and production, some farmers report.

The long-delayed 2012 Farm Bill has finally reached the Senate floor after months of heated political debate and grandstanding. Despite the efforts of many agricultural politicians to advance the bill out of committee, however, it appears stalled once again, with the Senate refusing to continue debate until next week due to disagreements over the amendment process.

While the Senate dithers over amendments, farmers are nervously watching the weeks slip by without a lasting agreement. The current farm bill is set to expire at the end of September, leaving Washington only a few months to pass a new bill that can serve as a major roadmap for all federal agricultural programs nationwide.

While more than 70 percent of the farm bill consists of the Food Stamp Program, the rest of the omnibus legislation addresses a wide variety of federal policies, running the gamut from crop insurance subsidies, dairy price protections, conservation and environmental regulations, and access to farm credit, to name a few.

With the compromise over the future of these programs constantly stalled, many farmers are having a hard time preparing for upcoming harvests. Without firm federal guidelines, it is impossible for farmers to know what kinds of support they can expect. If the farm bill is delayed until September or beyond, many farmers will be forced to begin planning and planting future crops with very little government support.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer