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September 25, 2012 8:05 am

EDITORIAL: Farm bill frustration

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Congress leaves D.C., Farm Bill set to expire Sept. 30

Lawmakers failed to harvest a successful farm bill before leaving Washington, D.C. over the weekend.

The outcome is frustrating for many farmers and ranchers across rural America, who hoped Republicans and Democrats could come together to pass this important legislation.

But an unproductive Congress has left us disappointed.

The current farm bill expires at the end of this week, and there’s no new law or extension in place. This uncertainty is especially disconcerting for those impacted by widespread drought.

For decades, farm bills have provided a strong safety net for agriculture producers, including disaster assistance and subsidy payments. But the federal policy encompasses much more than agriculture. Food stamps account for 80 percent of the bill’s costs. Republicans and Democrats clash over food stamp spending, leading to yet another political gridlock in Congress.

It’s worth noting that the farm bill passed with bipartisan support in the Senate in June, giving the House of Representatives plenty of time before the Sept. 30 expiration deadline.

Lawmakers won’t return to the Capitol until after the Nov. 6 election. Election-year politics prevailed as Congress also will wait to deal with taxes, spending cuts and the Postal Service’s budget woes, according to The Associated Press.

Their work clearly wasn’t finished, but lawmakers left anyway.

Sure, they’ll resume in November, but timing matters. Uncertainty without a farm bill makes it difficult for ag producers getting ready for next year and applying for loans.

We understand that passing a comprehensive, five-year farm bill is complicated and difficult. But many of us deal with difficult and complicated tasks daily — and still get the job done. For many hardworking Americans, missing a deadline or putting off an important responsibility isn’t an option. Unfortunately, that has not been true in Washington.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link September 27, 2012 6:56 am posted by TN

    Farm subsidies need to be stopped.either farm within your means or get out of the business.

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