With the 2008 Farm Bill set to expire in a few months, Congress is rushing to pass a new set of agricultural legislation. According to Senator Chuck Grassley, the window for a new bill is rapidly closing. If legislation is not passed by August, Grassley said, a new bill for 2012 was unlikely.
Renewed every five years, the provisions of the current farm bill are set to expire at the end of September. If they expire without a new bill being passed (or without being temporarily extended), then a 1949 bill would automatically take effect, requiring farmers to severely limit planting, and requiring the government to spend billions of dollars in direct payments. While politicians in Congress are promising a new bill by September, they have also promised that they will not allow the ‘49 bill to go back into effect.
Grassley and others, however, are not optimistic that a new bill will be passed. According to Grassley, “If it doesn’t get done by August the 5th I don’t think it’s going to be done. It has to be done sometime this summer or you’re going to have to extend the existing farm bill because farmers need to know what next year’s program is.” According to a member of the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri, “There are a lot of things that would have to fall right for the bill to get all the way through the process and be signed this year. There are too many things that could go wrong between here and there.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer