Farmers and ranchers across the country are worried about the future of their operations as Congress restarts the farm bill process.
After more than a year of debate, the end of 2012’s congressional session and the swearing in of a new Congress has restarted the farm bill process. While the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee passed a version of the farm bill last summer, the House leadership refused to vote on the bill. Congress’ refusal to add a new five-year farm bill to last year’s fiscal cliff legislation ended the possibility of a new farm bill being passed in 2012.
With a new Congress being sworn in, the unfinished work of the previous farm bill has been undone. With Congress having to start the farm bill process all over again, many farmers are once again worried about what federal programs will be slashed in order to help balance the federal deficit.
In particular, many farmers and ranchers are worried about funding for agricultural research. Ranchers, for example, depend very heavily on federally funded animal science programs. Some farmers are worried about the future of conservation programs. According to the president of American Farmland Trust, “There won’t be enough money to go around. Budgets are just going to get thinner, and I don’t think the politics is going to get any easier.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer