The recent fiscal cliff tax vote also extended the 2008 Farm Bill for another year, but leaves the need for a five-year farm bill unmet. “Our mantra was farm bill now,” says Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, after a recent speech. “But we saw as the clock ticked that getting an extension was more likely with fiscal cliff negotiations.” Stallman spoke with media after making his annual speech to the 6,000 Farm Bureau members attending the group’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn.
The challenge for getting a farm bill passed is continued budget issues and concerns over a difficult fiscal situation. Stallman notes that agriculture is willing to “do its share” in the effort to cut spending, and has gone along with the idea of cutting direct payments. However, that cut should come with some kind of safety net as well, he says.
He notes that the safety net could take a variety of forms including crop insurance. “That can be crop insurance or revenue insurance, something where the farmer has some skin in the game in the form of a premium payment,” he notes. “There may be a subsidy for the premium, but it is different than a direct payment.”
For now, Congress is likely to focus on a range of debt-related issues including sequestration and the national debt. This will take focus from other issues including potential action on a farm bill. (Farm Futures)