On the eve of federal budget cuts through sequestration, commodity leaders continue to express outrage over the absence of a new farm bill.
Leaders from the American Soybean Association and National Corn Growers Association met this week to discuss farm policy and other priorities at the 2013 Commodity Classic, held in Kissimmee, Fla. The event broke last year's attendance record as 6,080 farmers donned short sleeve shirts to enjoy the sunshine and palm trees.
But the mood inside the Gaylord Palms Resort Convention Center was anything but warm, as leaders expressed frustration with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The farm bill "has been a top priority for ASA for longer than any of us would like…because this is the third year we've addressed the need for a new farm bill in this press conference," says ASA president Danny Murphy, who farms near Canton, Miss. "The process has dragged on for far too long and it's time for Congress to get moving on a long term solution that works for farmers."
Congress passed a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill before adjourning in January, but leaders from both ASA and NCGA say that's not good enough.
"That's not what we wanted to see," says Pam Johnson, NCGA president and farmer from Floyd, Iowa. "We are pushing for a five year, comprehensive farm bill."
The extension "doesn't provide our farmers the certainty we need to make long range decisions," adds Murphy. "That's why ASA will continue to press the 113th Congress for a long term solution—either a comprehensive five year bill, or a modified, multi-year extension—that achieves each of our key farm bill priorities."