The current farm bill expired Sunday, and Congress recently went into recess without having passed a new version or an extension. The House and Senate will not reconvene until after the election. Even then, it’s unclear whether Congress will pass the legislation before the end of the year or wait until a new Congress begins work in January.
Although the current farm bill has expired, most impacts on commodities will not be felt until at least January. The 2008 farm bill covers all of 2012’s crops, even if they haven’t been harvested yet. The first effects will likely be seen when winter wheat is harvested next spring.
Other programs, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance and some conservation and research programs, will continue even without a new bill.
There are more immediate concerns about dairy, international marketing and ag disaster programs. And there are three dozen programs funded by the 2008 farm bill that don’t have funding now that the bill has expired. These programs include wetlands and grassland reserve programs, some nutrition programs, and some energy and rural development programs.
This isn’t the first time there have been delays in the farm bill. In 2007, the farm bill expired at the end of September and wasn’t extended until Dec. 26. So there’s still time to get something done this year, but Troxler says Congress needs to make a commitment to passing the legislation.
Click below to listen to the Commissioner and Rhonda talk about the uncertainty surrounding the farm bill.
Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.