Expiration Brings Renewed Urgency for Farm Bill
Farm groups, politicians call for lame duck vote
Published: Oct 2, 2012
When Congress left town last month without passing a new farm bill, many farm groups expressed disappointment and doubt about the possibility of a 2012 Farm Bill. But, after the Sept. 30 expiration on Sunday, groups have a renewed interest in pushing the farm bill to the floor.
USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said the expiration has hindered USDA's ability to provide farm commodity and price support, conservation, research, nutrition, food safety, and agricultural trade.
"As of today, USDA's authority or funding to deliver many of these programs has expired, leaving USDA with far fewer tools to help strengthen American agriculture and grow a rural economy that supports one in 12 American jobs," Vilsack said in a statement released Monday.
As Congress adjouned in September, they left the Farm Bill without a vote.Vilsack said lack of action will be hard on rural communities.
"Rural communities are today being asked to shoulder additional burdens and additional uncertainty in a tough time," he said.
Vilsack speculated also during a Monday press call that the farm bill wasn't taken to vote because some members of Congress are pushing for more cuts after the election.
"There's a great deal of uncertainty, great deal of stress. There didn't have to be. There was plenty of time to get this done," he said.
In a joint statement, 15 farm associations joined together also to address challenges the ag industry faces without a farm bill.
"[Expiration] has terminated a number of important programs and will very adversely affect many farmers and ranchers, as well as ongoing market development and conservation efforts," the groups wrote.
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