Farm Groups Push Congress on Farm Bill

An open letter signed by dozens of American farm advocacy groups and delivered to the House and Senate Agriculture Committee chairs urged Congress to take immediate action on the 2012 Farm Bill to avoid delays and cancellations of vital farm programs.

The 2012 Farm Bill has been stuck in limbo for months, if not years. First discussed several years ago, Congress has been delaying and postponing the actual debate on the bill. Given the current toxicity inherent to American politics, the bill seems unlikely to pass in the current congressional session, with many politicians discussing an extension of the current 2008 Farm Bill to cover the interregnum between the expiration of the old bill and the passage of its replacement.

Many farmers, however, are critical of this suggested extension and are pressuring Congress to pass a new Farm Bill sooner rather than later. A letter signed by the leaders of eighty farm organizations urges Congress to “reject calls for delay and aggressively act to ensure that a new, comprehensive farm bill is passed this year.”

Passage could be easier than many expect, some farm advocates say. While the much-hyped meeting of the Congressional supercommittee, charged with reducing the federal deficit, failed to pass, many potential elements of a new farm bill were part of the supercommittee negotiations. These previous debates give Congress a farm template that has already been discussed and amended, creating a farm policy debate that, in the words of the head of the National Corn Growers Association, is “farther along than we might be in a normal farm bill progress,”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer