Farmers Union president frustrated with farm bill process

Published online: Jan 04, 2013

The day after an extension of the 2008 farm bill by Congress, many agricultural leaders are expressing frustration over its inability to pass a new five-year farm bill in 2012.

Among them is Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union.  But Johnson doesn't agree with those who say that agriculture has lost its influence in Congress.

"I don't think it's fair to say that this was a case of agriculture losing its influence so much as it was a case of you've just got a very dysfunctional political system right now in this country," Johnson says.

Others have blamed the failure to advance a new farm bill on infighting between various agricultural interests.  Again, Johnson disagrees.

"I'm not so sure that I would say that this is agriculture not being united," he says. "I think it is fair to say that much of agriculture is doing pretty well-and so you don't have as much political pressure that results from that."

As for the farm bill extension, Johnson says it's ironic that while many in Congress are concerned with overspending, they continued what he calls "unjustifiable direct payments."