Congress Passes Second Farm Bill Extension
The Agricultural Retailers Association is reporting that negotiations on a new farm bill (HR 2419) continue to drag on as the Senate and House were forced to pass another extension of the 2002 farm bill until April 18.
The two main controversial issues remain: 1) Whether to add another $10 billion over 10 years to the $597 billion baseline; and 2) Dispute over jurisdiction between the Senate Agriculture and Finance Committees over which committee will control spending on programs such as the permanent supplement disaster assistance program or a conservation reserve tax credit.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) intend to work on a second farm bill proposal without the additional $10 billion if an agreement can not be reached between the Bush Administration and Congress.
Farm and commodity groups are disappointed in the lack of progress being made and believe it is time for Congress to finalize a bill as soon as possible. Spending cuts to direct commodity payments, crop insurance, and imposing a stricter payment limitation would likely be necessary to pay for increase funding for nutrition, specialty crops and conservation programs.
President Bush wants Congress to pass a one-year extension to the 2002 farm bill if an agreement can not be reached by the April 18 deadline.
The tax relief title is in jeopardy of being dropped from the farm bill.
ARA urges all members to contact your Senators and Representatives and urge their support for keeping the Agricultural Chemicals Security Credit provision (Section 12405) of the Senate-passed farm bill in the farm bill conference agreement.