Other farm groups expressed similar sentiments. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson was harsh in his criticism, saying the extension was a "short-sighted, temporary fix."
"The legislation that passed fails to provide disaster aid for farmers or necessary support for our dairy industry, yet continues unjustifiable direct payments," Johnson said in a statement Tuesday. "Farmers, ranchers, rural communities and all Americans deserve better and would have been better served with a new five-year farm bill."
…it also has some benefits
Though there were provisions that will be missed with an extension, not all comments were scathing. Some groups praised the benefits of the bill – a continuation of the biodiesel tax credit and relief from looming tax hikes.
The impending hikes were of special concern for many farmers and ranchers with ownership of large tracts of land. Assorted farm groups pushed for estate tax reform to avoid the hikes, but will now settle with a compromise.
Proposed estate tax rate increases included a $4 million per couple exemption and maximum taxable rate topping out at 55%, but as part of the new deal, estates will be taxed at a top rate of 40% with the first $5 million in value exempted for individual estates and $10 million in value for couples.
"The new estate tax rules give greater certainty to thousands of family-owned businesses in the produce industry," said Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for produce group United Fresh. "If Congress had not acted, much higher estate taxes would have gone into effect. The confidence this move allows many business owners is definitely a victory in the bill."
American Soybean Association President Danny Murphy said simply that the proposed rates, had they gone into effect, were unrealistic for family farms.
Murphy noted that the new policy provides "much more viable framework for the land-based and capital-intensive nature of family farms." He said also that the solution allows farmers to more easily pass their operations from generation to generation.
Murphy, along with biodiesel groups, praised the portion of the fiscal cliff deal that provided an extension of the biodiesel tax credit, a $1-per-gallon incentive to produce biodiesel.
Murphy said the credit extension, which is effective in 2013 and retroactive to 2012, was a "big win" for soybean farmers. Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs with the National Biodiesel Board, said the move will improve job creation and expand production.