Posted October 1, 2013
 
The farm bill extension, which was passed last year after Congress was unable to pass a comprehensive bill, has expired.  Key provisions of the farm bill – crop insurance and the SNAP program – will not see an immediate impact, but the lack of a farm bill will begin to show in the long term, according to a Farm Futures article available here.
 
Progress is being made, albeit slow.  Over the weekend, the House voted to approve legislation which combines its Nutrition bill with its Farm Programs bill, H. Res. 361, available here.  This move will allow a future House-Senate Conference Committee to work on a final bill.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) must first appoint conference committee members.
 
The next deadline is Jan. 1, when milk prices will “skyrocket” based on a 1949 provision of the “permanent” law. 
 
Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Chair of the Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation, will hold a hearing on Tuesday, October 8 at 2:30 p.m. EST entitled “Investing in Small Town America: The Importance of a Comprehensive Farm Bill.”
 
The hearing will highlight “a key reason why Congress must pass a comprehensive Farm Bill: to help rural communities throughout the country develop and improve their infrastructure, such as water and wastewater systems, broadband networks, and public facilities.”

 

Sen. Heitkamp said, “Because of the smaller numbers of people living in rural communities, the low tax bases, and the large distance between towns, rural communities too often can’t afford to upgrade and build infrastructure that will help create jobs and boost their economies.  That’s exactly why we need to pass a comprehensive Farm Bill, like the Senate passed in June, to help make these critical investments in our rural communities.”

For more information on farm bills, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.