As the expiration deadline quickly approaches for the current Farm Bill, all eyes are on the Hill, and the clock is ticking.
In a report dated Aug. 15, Kurt Guidry, with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusi-ness at the LSU AgCenter provided a Farm Bill update. Following is an excerpt from his commentary.
“While there were efforts made in the last few weeks to move closer to finalizing a new Farm Bill, Congress left Washington for its summer recess without any significant agreements in place,” Guidry says. “As it stands today, we still have a version of the new Farm Bill that was passed by the House Agricultural Committee but not discussed or voted on by the full House.
…“While there was some discussion earlier on the possibility of extending the entire 2008 Farm Bill for one more year, there seems to be renewed interest in getting a Farm Bill passed before the end of the year. The drought has increased the sense of urgency to finish a Farm Bill as has the concern of having additional budget cuts requested in the Farm Bill if the debate goes into next year.
“While time seems to be running out on being able to realistically get a Farm Bill passed prior to the end of the year, particularly with elections this fall, there seems to at least be some agreement that every attempt should be made to get it done,” Guidry adds. “Plans are for members of both the House and Senate to meet after the recess and to try to find common ground on moving forward with the Farm Bill.”
On the other hand, when Cotton Farming asked its readers how they view the status of the new Farm Bill, 64 percent believe it will be extended “as is” for another year. Following is a sampling of their comments:
• “I do not think the people up on the Hill understand what we as farmers and ranchers go through year after year. They do not get out and work in the snow, ice, rain and 100-degree heat to try get a crop in or animals taken care of. All they say is ‘Let’s cut the Farm Bill,’ and it is the only one that pays its own way in the government. It’s time the people stood up and let them know who they are working for, and it is not big business.”
• “I don’t think we will get a bill before next year. If our legislators (both R & D) don’t start trying to work together, we are going to be in a worse mess than now. Washington is more out of touch than ever.”
• “With an election year, there is little hope to get things done.”
• “Congressmen are so focused on their own re-election that they cannot or will not take any position that might anger ANYONE – from a cotton farmer in Texas to a food stamp recipient in California. To actually do their job could be hazardous to re-election.”
• “If the government had to farm for a living, hope for rains and good prices, they would understand. But they sit in a controlled environment for a short time and don’t have a clue about a real working farm.”
• “The food stamp portion of the USDA budget must be removed and consolidated with all the other welfare departments. This does not belong in the Farm Bill where it is blamed on farmers by the uninformed observer.”
• “Farm Bill, hmmm. Set up a support price system, make the processors pay us for what we produce and let us PRODUCE! That would be the best Farm Bill we could hope for.”
To participate in this month’s Web Poll, go to cottonfarming.com to cast your vote and share your comments. Please include your location. Results of the September poll will be reported in the October issue of Cotton Farming.
Web Poll Results
How do you view the status of the new Farm Bill and why?
• It will be written by Sept. 30 when the current Farm Bill expires – 9 %
• It will be written fairly soon after the November elections – 27 %
• It will be extended “as is” for another year – 64 %
September Web Poll Question
As harvest season begins, how would you rate your 2012 cotton crop? Please provide your location.
(1) Better than expected
(2) Not up to expectations
(3) About how I expected it to be
Register your vote at www.cottonfarming.com