Monday, September 24, 2007

Parts of Farm Bill may get partial extension, but leaders confident a new one can be passed in 2007

Although the Sept. 30 expiration of parts of the 2002 Farm Bill is approaching, and there has been talk of extending the the law and delaying passage of a new Farm Bill until next year, a full extension of the bill is unlikely, DTN reports. Jerry Hagstrom writes that neither House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., nor Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, are planning any extension.

"I don't want anybody to get into any kind of mode that we need an extension,"Peterson told Hagstrom. "That will let the senators off the hook. There are going to be a lot of people upset if we extend this current law." The House has finished its version of the bill, and Peterson said he expects the Senate to finish its version and go to conference before the end of 2007.

In the meantime, however, Peterson and Harkin have said there could be extensions for parts of the 2002 bill, such as food stamps and the cotton program, whose funding expires Sept. 30, reports Tom Steever of Brownfield Network. Steever writes that Peterson wants a "two-bill strategy," with "one bill funded within the baseline and another with more programs if money is available.

An article from The Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa, explains that the lack of new Farm Bill should not have too great an effect on farmers. Emily Klein writes that should a new bill not be passed in time, "commodity provisions of the 2002 farm bill apply to crops harvested in 2007 and farmers entitled to payments will receive them even after Sept. 30." She points to the case of the 1990 Farm Bill which expired in 1995 and was not replaced until Congress passed legislation in 1996. In that case, payments were made on the 1995 crops. Still, she said worries remain for crops harvested in 2008. (Read more)

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