Farmers Want Action on Farm Bill

Farmers from six states recently urged Congress to take action on passing a new farm bill in order to avoid the expiration of critically important federal farm programs.

The current farm bill, passed in 2008, expires at the end of September, leaving Congress only six months to pass a new set of farm legislation. While the House and Senate could simply renew current farm policy, farmers are adamant that a new bill be passed so that they can adequately plan and preparing their individual operations.

According to one Alabama farmer, ““It is critically important to provide certainty to those of us involved in production agriculture since we make long-term investment decisions based on federal farm policy.”

Complicating an already contentious issue is the upcoming 2012 election. In addition to involving a presidential race, one third of the Senate and all House seats are up for reelection. Several members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, including chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, will be fighting to maintain their seats in addition while simultaneously passing vital farm legislation. Given the acrimonious debates in Congress over the last two years, many farmers are suspicious that political can keep these two goals from overlapping.

At the latest public farm bill hearing, hosted by Arkansas State University, farmers expressed the urgency of passing a new bill and voiced their concerns at losing access to direct payment subsidies. The farmers who testified were adamant that crop insurance needed to be strengthened in order to replace the lost direct payments.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer