Congress has approved a nine-month extension of the Farm Bill that expired late last year.The extension came out of this week's fiscal cliff agreement.
Farmers hoping for a full five-year Farm Bill will have to wait. Kicking the can down road also means negotiations will start from scratch or close to it, and that could affect how much is ultimately appropriated. Karen Gufvert is the director of Government Relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. She says cost-cutting will be a priority for the new Congress, "That's what everyone wants to see if let's make sure we are spending on what we should be spending, and not spending irresponsibly.
The extension itself is also controversial. At a time when the federal government is working to get its fiscal house in order, western Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind says simply extending the 2008 Farm Bill will be too costly, "There are some outdated subsidy programs that are in desperate need of reform. We can find cost savings from them to help budget deficits we now face.
Kind says farmers don't need a quick fix, they need a five-year Farm Bill so they can plan for their future.