AFBF, NMPF Opposes Farm Bill Extension Plan
The American Farm Bureau Federation said that a House proposal to extend the current farm bill for one year fails to move the nation any closer to securing a comprehensive, long-term farm bill and the organization would stand in opposition.
"A one-year extension offers our farm and ranch families nothing in the way of long-term policy certainty," said AFBF President Bob Stallman. "Farmers and ranchers always face decisions that carry very serious financial ramifications, such as planting a crop, buying land or building a herd, and we need clear and confident signals from our lawmakers."
Late last Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that the House 'may consider a farm bill extension' this week. The legislation would provide for a one-year extension of current law governing farm programs, including commodity programs, crop insurance, conservation programs and federal nutrition programs, as well as reauthorize supplemental agricultural disaster assistance for the 2012 fiscal year, retroactively, and for the 2013 fiscal year.
Stallman pointed out that the Senate-passed farm bill and the bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee already include disaster provisions for livestock farmers, and those measures would likely be included in any conference committee held for the long-term legislation. Meanwhile, the extension bill does nothing, according to Stallman, to help hog or poultry producers, little to provide assistance to the dairy industry and nothing to aid fruit and vegetable producers who may not have crop insurance available to them as a risk management tool.
The National Milk Producers Federation also issued a statement expressing opposition to the proposed extension. That group says the extend a version of the current farm bill by one year would not include the inclusion of Dairy Security Act, which is a new mechinism for pricing milk.
"The current safety net for dairy farmers is not sufficient in dealing with scenarios like we are currently facing from high feed costs associated with the ongoing drought," said Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of NMPF. "If we are going to be serious about providing better protection for the nation's dairy farmers while at the same time providing taxpayer savings from current programs, then we should pass a new farm bill which includes the DSA, which was included in both the Senate-passed farm bill and the farm bill recently passed out of the House Agriculture Committee."