The 2012 Farm Bill, which recently passed the Senate Agriculture Committee in a 16-5 vote, faces an uphill battle in the House of Representatives, where partisan bickering could threaten the bill’s final passage.
The current incarnation of the farm bill, the Food, Energy, Conservation Act of 2008, expires in September, leaving politicians only a few months to act to protect critical farm subsidies and to ensure a coherent federal farm policy. While politicians in the House and Senate have promised that they would renew the current farm bill, rather than face its expiration without replacement, farmers are adamant that they would prefer a new bill rather than an extension of the current bill.
The farm bill that passed the Senate Agriculture Committee is controversial. It contains about $24 billion in spending cuts, including the elimination of direct payment subsidies in exchange for strengthened crop insurance programs.
Some Representatives, however, have criticized the Senate bill for focusing too heavily on corn and soybean producers at the expense of cotton, rice, and peanut farmers. Included in this broad opposition is House Agriculture Committee chair Frank Lucas, whose opposition to the Senate version of the farm bill could stall its passage in the House.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer