What's the projected lifespan of direct payments for farmers?
Gary Schnitckey, University of Illinois professor and ag economist, says they are likely going to continue for this year with that extension of the 2008 farm bill.
"As far as direct payments for 2013, they're already scheduled. The only thing that can change those payments would be if sequestration (cuts) hit those-and you can guess about that-but it's more likely that it would reduce the payments rather than end those payments."
We asked Schnitkey about direct payments for 2014-especially if a new five-year farm bill is not passed this year.
He answered, "If we get a farm bill extension like we did for 2013, it may include direct payments but there's a good chance they could be reduced as well-or the levels of those reduced or eliminated. So the chance of direct payments for 2014 is pretty small."
He says the farm bill drafts of 2013 did not include direct payments so he said it's pretty certain that if a farm bill is passed this year it won't include them either.