Thursday, March 14, 2013

Farm bill still in limbo

Farm bill still in limbo

A continuing resolution to fund the government through Sept. 30 is expected to be pass Congress by late March, but progress on a new five-year farm bill remains elusive, industry leaders said in mid-March.

Congress seems poised to pass a continuing budget resolution to fund the federal government through September, but the work on a new farm bill remains tied up with the overall budget picture, said Tom O’Brien, Washington, D.C.-based representative for the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association.

The House passed a continuing resolution that funds agriculture programs at 87% of 2012 levels to account for the sequester, according to a report from the Organic Trade Association. The Senate is considering a measure that is more generous to agriculture programs. Both houses of Congress should come together to pass a reconciled bill before March 27, O’Brien said.

House and Senate agriculture leaders have said they need budget numbers before they proceed to work on a five-year farm bill, said Dale Moore, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based American Farm Bureau Federation.

“We think it is very important to get a new five-year farm bill done this year,” he said.
Unfortunately, there remains deep differences between Republicans and Democrats on how to proceed with resolving budget issues

“There is a lot of debate and not much resolution yet,” Moore said.

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