By Tracy Turner, Ohio State University
With the current farm bill set to expire Sept. 30, farmers already dealing with the effects of the worst drought in 50 years, want to know how soon a new bill could be passed and what it will mean for their bottom lines, Ohio State University Extension economist Matt Roberts says.
But with the Republican-controlled House and Democrat-led Senate disagreeing on key farm bill provisions, including the amount of cuts to the food stamp program and the shape of the farm program, it is unclear when a new bill will be passed and what that new bill will mean for farmers, he said.
That has left farmers reeling with the uncertainty of what the potential farm bill could mean for their farm futures.
"The most defining moment of the past two or three years has been the drought of 2012, so how will that affect where the farm bill debate will go?" Roberts asks.
"The farm bill is so important because it sets the rules of the game of how farmers operate. So any changes to that policy affect farmers in terms of their decisions on whether to expand, contract or grow new crops. The drought this year has caused a lot of losses across the farm sector, so understanding what the safety net is going forward is crucial to help farmers make production decisions for 2013 and beyond."