House Ag Committee Chair Frank Lucas Offers One Year Farm Bill Extension- Including Ag Disaster Assistance for 2012 and 2013Sun, 30 Dec 2012 19:21:35 CST
With the clock ticking down toward the end of 2012, House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders are scrambling to pass some type of extension for the current farm bill and suspend permanent legislation that could lead to dramatically higher dairy prices - absent any last minute moves to include farm bill language in a fiscal cliff deal.
As a result, there are actually three measures that were introduced by Chairman Lucas late last night. The preferred bill by the House and Senate Ag Leadership is the one year extension of the 2008 farm law, which includes another year of direct farm program payments- but at a slightly reduced level to pay for the ag disaster programs that were dropped at the end of the 2011 crop year. In the 2008 Farm Law- direct payments were figured at 85% of base acreage- while the extension drops that level to 82.5%. The lower percentage of the Direct Payment for the 2013 crop year will pay for both the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) for both 2012 and 2013- whcih are included in the extension.
In a move to bring House Ag Committee ranking member Collin Peterson on board- reforms in Dairy policy are included in the one year extension. Peterson, in a statement on Sunday afternoon, indicated that he was supportive of the extension since it included the dairy reforms.
“Given House Republican leaders’ repeated opposition to a five-year farm bill, House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership has worked together to write an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill which includes much-needed reforms to the dairy industry. These reforms are the primary reason that I am even willing to consider any extension,” Peterson said in a statement.
“I remain opposed to other efforts that would fail to reform the dairy safety net. Given the improbability that both the House and Senate can enact long-term farm policy into law within the next 30 days, the 30 day extension approach is a poor joke on farmers that offers no certainty, just more empty promises from the Republican leadership."
Two other options were also introduced by Chairman Lucas- oen is a simple one month extension of current farm policy, which would expire almost before the Committees will be able to meet to deal with new legislation in 2013- and the third option is to address only the "Dairy Cliff" by suspending permanent law in regards to dairy policy. It's almost a certianty that Peterson would work hard to defeat option two or option three if they are advanced by Speaker John Boehner or Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Click here to read the full 78 pages of the one year extension of the 2008 proposed by Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas.
Here are the statements made Sunday morning by both Congressman Lucas and Senator Stabenow:
House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma says "Clearly, it is no longer possible to enact a five-year farm bill in this Congress. Given this reality, the responsible thing to do - and the course of action I have long encouraged if a five-year bill was not possible - is to extend the 2008 legislation for one year. This provides certainty to our producers and critical disaster assistance to those affected by record drought conditions.
"The legislation posted is the result of discussions with Ranking Member Peterson and my colleagues in the Senate. It is not perfect - no compromise ever is - but it is my sincere hope that it will pass the House and Senate and be signed by the President by January 1."
Senate Ag Committee Chairman Debbie Staebnow of Michigan says “While the Senate passed a bipartisan five-year Farm Bill in June that cut subsidies and reduced the deficit, the lack of action by the House Republican leadership has put us in a situation where we risk serious damage to our economy unless we pass a temporary extension.
“If a new Farm Bill is not passed in the next few days, Agriculture Committee leaders in both chambers and both parties have developed a responsible short-term Farm Bill extension that not only stops milk prices from spiking, but also prevents eventual damage to our entire agriculture economy. It is critical that we pass a five-year Farm Bill that gives farmers and ranchers the certainty they need to plan for the future. If a new Farm Bill doesn’t pass this Congress we’ll soon hold another mark-up and just keep working until one is enacted next year.”
The fate of an extension is still in doubt, as detractors of farm policy will scream about not getting the reform promised in the 2012 bills that passed the full Senate and the House Ag Committee. However, it appears that the House is likely to vote on the extension on Monday- after consumer uproar developed over the fears of milk prices doubling for consumers after January first- if nothing is done regarding farm policy.
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