With the 2007 Farm Bill expired and with no replacement bill in sight, some farm officials are reassuring Americans that the situation may not be as grim as some reports suggest.
For the past several months, the farm bill has been at the center of rural news. With the 2007 bill expiring at the end of September, many farm organizations and lobbyists had hoped to pressure lawmakers to quickly pass the 2012 bill over the summer in order to prevent funding shortfalls and offer farmers important guidelines for the next several years.
However, the farm bill debate was derailed by partisan politics. Bipartisan bills passed by the U.S. Senate and the House Agriculture Committee were blocked by House GOP leadership (with some insiders claiming that Speaker Boehner was unwilling to pass the bill for fear of alienating fiscal conservatives and Tea Party representatives).
While farm groups have understandably reacted negatively, some farm officials are hoping to reassure Americans that a crisis is not looming. Earlier this week, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow pledged to pressure the House to pass a bill as soon as Congress reconvened in November. “We aren’t giving up,” Stabenow stated. “As soon as Congress comes back, the farm bill needs to be a top priority in the House.”
Farm specialists at the Iowa State University also stated that there was no immediate threat due to the expiration of the farm bill (although they warned that there was a chance that a rash bill may be passed in November due to various congressional pressures).
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer