U.S. farmers were given the final word yesterday that the Farm Bill conference committee will not reach a final negotiation on the Farm Bill prior to the end of 2013.
House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas filed an extension that the current farm bill remain in effect until January 31, 2014. His timing gives the House an opportunity to consider the extension on Friday before they recess for the holidays.
“We continue to make good progress,” Lucas said. “Our goal is to have an agreement that leads to a bill even if we, perhaps, we can’t get it done in the House this calendar week.”
Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow would rather the House remain in session for another week, hoping to make significant progress and finish the bill before 2013 ends. She worries that pushing the bill into 2014 will allow direct payments to continue into another crop year.
All the while, export market development organizations like the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, and the U.S.A. Poultry and Egg Export Council are struggling with cash flow problems as the funding for their market development programs ended on September 30, 2013.
During a meeting with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board last week, representatives from all three organizations expressed concern about the timing of a new farm bill extension or passage of a new bill. All have faith that the funding will be there when an agreement is reached, but until compromise come, at least half of their usual funding lies in wait.
Here’s hoping that Congress’ New Year’s Resolution is to work together and pass a Farm Bill Now!