Farm Bill update
The status of the 2008 Farm Bill, which expires on Sept. 30, remains unclear as Congress reconvenes for a brief session this week. Options of what to do with the expiring law are being discussed. One option is a three-month extension that would include livestock disaster aid as well as new assistance for dairy farmers. Another option would be to take up the bill again after the election, although there is no certainty the bill would see floor time. The Senate has passed their version of a 2012 Farm Bill, but the House of Representatives has not. Once the House passes a bill, both the Senate and House can move to a conference, where differences will be worked out to determine the final bill. The bill will go back to both chambers for a final vote once an agreement is reached.
As the country works through the process of getting its fiscal house in order, agriculture is expected to contribute somewhere between $23-35 billion in savings from the 2008 Farm Bill baseline budget number. These figures were determined from the Senate Farm Bill version and the House Agriculture Committee. The actual savings will be determined when the final version passes. To achieve this level of savings, significant cuts were proposed within the 2012 Farm Bill from the Senate and House Ag Committees with the exception of crop insurance. In the Senate's version, crop insurance is the only program to be increased.
Disaster Aid Package in Limbo
Just prior to their August recess, Members of the House approved a $383 million stand-alone agricultural disaster aid package that was largely geared to aid drought-stricken livestock producers and a limited number of farmers. The measure was in lieu of a package that offered a one-year extension of the current farm bill, after that proposal failed to garner enough support for consideration. The Senate took no action on this aid package.
While most farm groups want immediate disaster aid, a five-year farm bill, including provisions that might keep Congress from having to address weather-related losses on a year-by-year basis, remains a top priority. Passing a short-term drought aid measure might delay Congress further from working on a long-term, comprehensive bill.
Support from John Deere
John Deere supports an adequate risk management structure that facilitates the production of an abundant, affordable, safe and dependable food supply in a sustainable manner. We will continue to closely monitor the farm bill process and serve as an agricultural resource as the bill is finalized.