Farm Bill May be Linked to Budget Deal

The long-delayed 2012 Farm Bill may finally make it out of Congress, some farm officials say, if it can successfully be linked to the upcoming budget deal designed to prevent the US from going over the fiscal cliff.

The fiscal cliff was originally passed as part of previous years’ debt ceiling negotiations. In order to approve increasing the federal government’s debt ceiling, congressional Republicans insisted on a mechanism to force the government to cut nearly $2 trillion in federal spending. If Congress could not agree on budget cuts by the end of the year, automatic spending cuts and tax increases would go into effect across the board.

Most experts agree that going over the fiscal cliff (the combination of tax hikes and across the board spending cuts) could be disastrous to the US economy. The major priority of the lame duck Congress will be to work out a budget deal.

While the farm bill, on its own, may seem inconsequential compared to trillion dollar budget deals, it may finally receive a much needed jumpstart thanks to the fiscal cliff. While the House and Senate have not yet agreed on how much to cut from farm spending, both the Senate and House versions of the bill do cuts billions of dollars of agricultural spending.

If the farm bill is incorporated into the fiscal cliff negotiations, it could help Congress reach the mandated spending cuts and could help farmers who are facing a disastrous end to federal subsidies and programs in 2013.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer