FARM BILL: A SUMMARY OF THE TRAIN WRECK

Lindsay Mitchell

Jun, 24, 2013  |  Today's News

Maybe you were following the farm bill news last week, maybe you weren’t.  No matter what, hopefully you’ve heard by now that the farm bill did NOT pass in the House, leaving you with absolutely no certainty about the future of your farm and risk management options after September 2013.

This is not acceptable. 

The House – and Congress as a whole – is leaving a legacy of unfinished business and an inability to collaborate that looms larger than any previous Congress in history.  Insiders in Washington tell us that long term staffers in DC can’t remember the political dysfunction ever being this bad, including the two impeachment processes (Nixon and Clinton), multiple government shut downs, or during the highly dysfunctional Carter Administration.

The change must come from you.  Regular calls to your Congressmen demanding action would be a great place to start.

Still, on some issues, Illinois agriculture got some good signals from our delegation and the entire House that what we are pushing, they are buying.

Happily, the House defeated an amendment to eliminate Market Access Programs during the debate last week.  The Market Access Program is a USDA run program to grow international market opportunities for U.S. products and is used by the IL Corn funded U.S. Grains Council Inc to maintain offices in foreign countries that help gain access to those markets.  This is a win.

Additionally, several of your Illinois delegation voted against an amendment that would be bad for your crop insurance programs.  This signal tells us that most of our delegation is in favor of our proposed program changes and funding levels and we can count on them to support us in future farm bill debates.  Thanks to Congressman Cheri Bustos, Rodney Davis, Tammy Duckworth, Bill Enyart, Bill Foster, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger, Dan Lipinski, Peter Roskam, Aaron Schock, and John Shimkus for their votes against the Ron Kind amendment and in support of Illinois family farmers.

Illinois Corn will continue to monitor farm bill developments as they occur.  Right now there is only speculation about what comes next.  Does the House Ag Committee make a few revisions and bring the bill back to the floor?  Will they completely overhaul the bill and attempt to get a version the House can pass?  Will the House simply extend the current bill sometime after September, leaving Illinois farmers with yet another year under old programs?

Time will tell.