The recent failure of Congress to pass a comprehensive, five-year farm bill is worrying farmers across the country, many of whom are not optimistic about Congress’ ability to pass a new bill even after the election and who may be left in the lurch come next spring.
After months of pressure from farm lobbyists and rural voters, Congress adjourned earlier this week, tabling the farm bill until they reconvene in their lame duck session after the 2012 election. The failure of the farm bill was a particularly bitter pill for many farmers, who saw the success of the Senate (which passed a bipartisan farm bill in May) and had hoped that a new bill was possible this year.
While rural lawmakers are still holding out hope that a new bill can be passed at the end of the year, many farmers have lost faith in Congress’ ability to deliver on its political promises.
Without a guarantee that Congress will actually pass a new bill, many farmers are now in a sort of limbo, uncertain as to which farm programs will be continued into the new year. According to the head of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, “There’s a lot of uncertainty out here among farmers, especially in light of the drought which has driven volatility in prices and increased costs. We need Congress to act on a new farm bill and we need them to do that this year so that next spring when farmers head out to the fields all the decisions have been made based on certainty.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer