Farm Bill Stalled in Congress

Despite overcoming several major hurdles this summer, the 2012 Farm Bill appears stalled in Congress and is unlikely to advance further before September, leading many farmers to worry that a new bill will not be passed before the current bill expires.

For the past few months, pressure has mounted on the House to pass the 2012 Farm Bill. After months of inactivity, the Senate passed a version of the farm bill eliminating controversial direct payment subsidies in exchange for strengthened crop insurance programs. While the House Agriculture Committee has passed its own draft of the farm bill, the full House has not taken up the legislation, preferring instead to focus on drought relief.

With a proposed drought relief bill blocked in the Senate, however, Congress is going into its August recess with no plan for aiding struggling farmers and no roadmap for passing a new farm bill. The five-week recess comes at a major time for farmers struggling to harvest a summer crop in the midst of the worst drought since the 1950s.

When the House does return in early September, they will have a difficult time passing the farm bill, which has split Republicans over its trillion-dollar price tag and has split Democrats over its severe reductions in food stamps funding.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer