fb - voice of agriculture


Newsline is updated every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:00 P.M. Eastern!

November 29, 2012

Bleak Outlook for New Farm Bill in 2012

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

When it comes to the farm bill, it looks like Congress will kick that can down the road into next year. American Farm Bureau Farm Policy Specialist Dale Moore explains what that could mean for farmers and consumers in this report from AFBF’s Johnna Miller.
Miller:Most people don’t realize that the farm bill isn’t just about farming. It provides food assistance to people who are struggling, conservation programs to help the environment, rural development programs and yes, a safety net for the people who grow our food supply. While the farm bill expired back in September, it’s looking highly unlikely Congress will pass a new one this year.
Moore:As lame ducks go, this one’s got both legs and both wings broke, I think. We are looking at the farm bill sitting there patiently waiting, but pragmatically, I don’t see a new five-year farm bill getting done this year. 
Miller:American Farm Bureau Farm Policy Specialist Dale Moore says the easiest culprit to point a finger at is – you guessed it – the impending “fiscal cliff.”
Moore:I would say that that is a fundamental reason why the farm bill is sitting on the back corner of the stove, if not actually on the counter, no longer getting heated up. 
Miller:The Senate passed its version of the legislation back in the summer, but the House version hasn’t made it to the floor for a vote. That means, come the new year, the farm bill reverts to the 1949 version of the law. 
Moore:That could have some very real consequences. If we don’t have an extension of some type then there’s just no safety net there for commodities. Current milk prices are in the 16 to 17 dollars per hundredweight range and if permanent law kicks in the dairy support price would go to around 37, 38, 39 dollars. Somewhere in that range, more than doubling the price of milk. It’s not clear how exactly that affects the price of fluid milk in the grocery store or dairy products across the board, but it will certainly have some kind of effect.
Miller:Whether the pinch is felt in the grocery store or in government expenditures, eventually consumers will get the bill. Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:We have two extra actualities with AFBF Farm Policy Specialist Dale Moore. In the first extra actuality he talks about the current outlook for the farm bill. The cut runs 8 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Moore:It’s much more likely we’re going to see extension of the expired 2008 farm bill. That’s unfortunately where we are right now.
Miller:In the second extra actuality Moore explains that timing is one reason a new farm bill is unlikely to pass in Congress this year. The cut runs 26 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Moore:Recently we heard Chairman Lucas indicate he would probably need three or four days to get a farm bill done on the floor. That kind of time is unfortunately not going to be available. A lot of folks have ideas about how they should be able to offer amendments to the farm bill. When we were watching the Senate process, important to keep in mind there were over 300 amendments that were offered up for that farm bill. Over 70 of them were actually considered when they put their bill together and that takes time. 
Miller:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm Eastern time. Thank you for listening.

Return to Newsline Index