The good news is: Congress gave itself a reprieve in passing a new Farm Bill. The bad news is: Expect some farm program payments under a 2013 Farm Bill to shrink or be disappear.
That's the bottom line of this week's comments from Andrew Novakovic, a Cornell University ag economist. Congress' "fiscal cliff" compromise may have extended the 2008 Farm Bill through 2013. But funding for all programs is not assured.
The 2008 Dairy Product Price Support Program is reauthorized through Dec. 31, 2013. So the equivalent of a $10 support price for Class III and IV milk remains in effect, he adds, which is to say no effect at all.
The Milk Income Loss Contract program that compensates dairy producers when prices fall below specific levels is extended by simply changing all the 2012 dates for MILC in the 2008 Farm Bill to 2013. This means the more generous formula and larger production cap goes back into effect and extends through Aug. 30, 2013.
It also raises the possibility of retroactive payments to farmers. Because of ambiguity in the bill's language, it's not entirely clear whether this would include milk produced in September 2012. That's important, because it is the only retroactive month with a significant payment opportunity for farmers.
"For all other agricultural support programs, the extension simply changes dates from 2012 to 2013. So programs applying to corn, soybeans, wheat, sugar, peanuts and cotton for the 2012 harvest will apply to the 2013 harvest.