Farm Groups Deride Congressional Inaction

With farmers across the country facing a climatological crisis, agricultural advocacy groups are criticizing Congress for its lackadaisical response to the expiration of the 2007 Farm Bill, an expiration that could endanger the economic stability of farms nationwide.

Over the summer, farmers faced one of the worst weather-related crises in recent memory. For months, farmers from California to Ohio were devastated by an ongoing and severe drought. With temperatures reaching record highs and precipitation falling to record lows, production across the country ground to a halt (especially in the Midwest, where corn production was severely disrupted).

In the midst of a weather crisis, farmers received little support from Congress. While the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee both passed different versions of the 2012 Farm Bill, House Republican leadership blocked the legislative process.

Without a new farm bill authorizing drought relief (and without disaster relief bills that were blocked in the Senate), many farmers received little more than platitudes from the federal government.

With lawmakers back in their home districts to campaign for the 2012 election, farm advocacy groups are hitting back. A coalition of farm groups (which includes the Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union) recently released a statement condemning congressional inaction on agricultural issues.

“While expiration of Farm Bill program authorities has little or no effect on some important programs, it has terminated a number of important programs and will very adversely affect many farmers and ranchers, as well as ongoing market development and conservation efforts,” the statement claims.

These groups hope to keep up the pressure on Congress to act during the lame duck session in November. According to the president of the National Farmers Union, “The longer Congress drags its feet, the harder their inaction will be felt by farmers, ranchers and, ultimately, all Americans.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer