Technically, federal price supports will revert back to 1949 levels without a new bill or an extension of the old one. That would mean the government would "pay huge bonuses" for certain crops, but not for others, because some commodities were added after to the list after 1949. It also would raise prices for commodities such as milk and soybeans. But, Montana State University economics professor Vincent Smith told Rovner the real reason Farm Bill supporters are pushing for a new bill has more to do with budget politics than the actual mechanics of it.
"They want to have a Farm Bill now that locks Congress and the taxpayer into obligations based on either the Senate or the House bill," Smith told NPR. "What they're concerned about is that, if serious deficit-reduction talks take place, then a lot more money than was initially identified to come out of the farm bill by the 'supercommittee' a year and a bit ago will have to come out of the Farm Bill."
"We actually have until about Jan. 1 before we run into a lot of administrative problems with this bill reverting to some very high prices," Mary Kay Thatcher, director of congressional affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation, told Rovner. The 2008 measure covers all of this year's crops, even if they haven't been harvested yet. The first crop that would be affected by new price supports would be winter wheat, which is harvested in the Spring, Rover reports. (Read more)