Pro Farmer Extra
- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter
Sept. 15, 2012
Congress returned to work this week (for a short-stint) before soon departing to hit the campaign trail. When they arrived in Washington, farm groups were waiting for them. These groups pushed hard for the House to take up its version of the Farm Bill... and we ended the week with no more promise of new farm legislation than when the week started.
That's led to a lot of commentary about what's going to happen if current farm law expires. The one that always makes the headlines is the prediction of a return to 1940's farm policy, along with parity pricing. That's not going to happen.
What will happen is current farm law will be extended... either a three-month, six-month or one-year extension will happen.
In this week's Pro Farmer newsletter, we asked Pro Farmer Washington consultant Jim Wiesemeyer to look into his crystal ball and to give us his best guess of what will happen with new farm legislation and what the timeline will be. He started with this reminder:
"Democratic lawmakers want lapsed livestock disaster programs reinstated, but say inaction by the GOP-controlled House has stalled the process. The irony is that it was Democratic lawmakers who truncated these programs in the 2008 Farm Bill to fit budget constraints."
Farm bill timeline
"There will eventually be a new farm bill that includes a farmer choice with target prices rather than the one-size-fits-all approach of the Senate bill. House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), a farmer-choice proponent, will chair any eventual farm bill conference. Timing of when a new farm bill moves to the conference committee may be influenced by whether there is a 2008 Farm Bill extension and, if so, its duration.
"The House didn’t include a farm bill extension last week when it considered a continuing resolution to keep the government running. So if there is an extension, it would have to stand on its own. It should be noted: The need for an extension soon has been overstated; any glitches that occur due to the bill’s expiry at the end of September will be minimal.
"A three-month extension would up the odds House leaders will push for farm bill completion in 2012 — likely during the post-election, lame-duck session of Congress. A six-month extension would leave farm bill timing murky regarding 2012 or 2013 passage. A one-year extension would likely push the new farm bill end zone into 2013.
"The presidential election makes farm bill passage timing even more uncertain. If Republican candidate Mitt Romney wins and the Senate gets a GOP majority, many think Republican congressional leaders would want to punt the farm bill conclusion to 2013. Also under the Romney-win scenario, an outgoing President Obama wouldn’t compromise on tax and farm bill issues.
"If Obama wins it would up the odds for a series of compromises during the four- to six-week lame-duck session that may include the farm bill conclusion."
Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory
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