Gathering in Milwaukee, the nation’s agricultural bankers are very worried about the US economy and how Congress will or will not deal with it. They are also worried about the lack of a Farm Bill. Outspoken Kansas State economist Barry Flinchbaugh told the American Ag Bankers Association that the House is to blame for the lack of a new Farm Bill, “This is the most inept Congress I have ever seen.” He said, if he were a Congressmen, he would have been too ashamed to come back home in August — during the worst drought in 60 years — without passing a Farm Bill. “They are catching hell, and well they should,” he said.
Flinchbaugh said it is impossible to pass a Farm Bill during the lame duck session and predicted it would take until April of 2013 before a new Farm Bill will be ready for a vote. With Democrats maintaining control of the Senate and Republicans increasing their majority in the House, the same Farm Bill battle lines we saw this summer will reemerge next spring. Once again, it will be tough to get a bill through the House. According to Flinchbaugh, “You would think, if you pass a bill with ¾ majority out of the Senate, it would be easy to get it through the House, but we have a group of House members who vote no on everything.”
Flinchbaugh predicts, in the end, there will be a compromise on the food stamp issue, but the future of target prices is in doubt. In addition, other key farm programs may face big cuts. He said that, again, Stabenow and Roberts will be the driving forces in the Senate and Lucas in the House and that the final bill that is passed will look a lot like the Senate Farm Bill that passed this summer.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/11/ag-bankers-wrap.mp3|titles=Flinchbaugh on the Farm Bill]