A week ago many of the agriculture groups across the United States sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leadership outlining the paramount importance of passage of new 5 year farm bill before the end of the year. Lafayette, Indiana farmer and chairman of the American Soybean Association, Alan Kemper, say all agriculture eyes are on the House of Representatives.
“I visited with Congressman Stutzman and he thinks there is an increased possibility of getting a farm bill passed. We just have to get Speaker Boehner to get it to the floor and Congressman Cantor to allow that to happen also. The Senate has had it and already passed it out. The farmers are waiting.”
Kemper adds there is more at stake than the domestic programs like crop insurance that farmers rely on.
“We have all of our foreign market development offices that will actually run out of funding the end of January. That means if you want Brazilian beans into China, ya don’t vote for a farm bill. We’ve got to get a farm bill passed to keep those offices open. Over 57 percent of soybeans are exported and a large percentage of the corn, and those offices really help.”
Jon Doggett, Vice President of Public Policy at the National Corn Growers Association says there is plenty of time to get the farm bill done if there is a commitment to it by members of Congress.
“So we’re asking the leadership in the House of Representatives let’s get a farm bill done. Put it on the floor. It’s going to be a messy process and we may not like what comes out at the other end but that’s part of the process too.”
Doggett says an extension is not what farmers want. Like Kemper he cited the funding for organizations promoting overseas exports being put at risk with an extension. And with an extension the budget baseline would be lost.
“When the Congressional Budget Office goes and recalculates the budget baseline in March, without a long term bill in place, we’re going to lose some budget baseline which means it’s going to make it more difficult to write a bill at the end of a one year extension.”
Overall, he is upbeat about the opportunity the lame duck session brings for passing a new 5 year bill, and Doggett says the best way to begin NCGA’s work in 2013 is helping implement that new farm bill.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/11/Kemper-and-Doggett-on-lame-duck-bill.mp3|titles=Kemper and Doggett on lame duck bill]