Farm Bill And Fireworks On 4th of July

Iowa Farm Scene

Aggravated by gridlock in Washington, Iowa farm leaders urge Congress to pass a new farm bill.

Published on: July 4, 2013

Some analysts believe the most likely outcome will be a one year extension of the current law, despite steadfast opposition from top leaders in the Senate. That's what happened last summer. Congress couldn't agree on a new 5-year farm bill so they extended the 2008 farm bill one more year. The current farm bill (the one-year extension of the 2008 bill) expires September 30. Time is running out to pass a new farm bill and get it in place before the current farm law expires.

More than frustrated, Vilsack is angry about farm bill delay

Interviewed at the July 3 Iowa sweet corn event in Des Moines, U.S. ag secretary Tom Vilsack says "More than frustrated, I'm angry about the lack of progress in the U.S. House and the House not getting a farm bill passed. Splitting the farm bill in two would be a big mistake. You risk losing a lot of the farm programs or severely reducing funding for them. The food and nutrition programs would survive but the ag programs wouldn't have widespread support if that portion is made into a stand-alone bill. Splitting the farm bill would be a mistake. It would put farm programs in serious risk and would be very poor policy."

Extending the current farm bill for one more year would also be a problem, says Vilsack. A number of key provisions in the current farm bill have already expired or have no funding. Livestock disaster assistance programs no longer exist, for example. "The Senate has passed a bi-partisan farm bill twice; now the House needs to find a workable solution and provide rural America with the bill it deserves."