Despite pressure by nearly every major agricultural group in the country, the possibility of a new farm bill being passed before the September 30 deadline appears increasingly unlikely.
For the past several months, increasing attention and pressure has been brought to bear on Congress regarding the farm bill and other vital agricultural legislation. While the Senate and House Agriculture Committees have passed versions of the farm bill (in May and July respectively), the full House has declined a floor vote and, even if a House bill had passed, Congress appears no closer to reconciling the two bills now than they did in January.
With the House and Senate in the middle of a five-week recess, hope is rapidly fading that a new bill will be passed before the current farm bill expires. While it is all but certain that the current bill will be temporarily extended (a failure to do so would automatically revert federal farm policy to the last permanent farm bill passed in the 1940s, and would cost the federal government billions of dollars), many farmers say that the lack of clear federal policies will hinder their ability to plan for the future.
When they reconvene in September, Congress will have about eight days to pass a new farm bill. Farm advocacy groups, like the Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union, plan to lobby politicians over the next few weeks, hoping to drive home the importance of agricultural legislation to rural Americans. They also are planning a massive protest on the steps of the Capitol building to push for speedy passage of a new farm bill.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer