Hurst: Farm bill "absolutely on hold"

Published online: Oct 04, 2013
Viewed 843 time(s)

Negotiations on a new farm bill apparently won't occur unless the nation's pressing budget issues are resolved first.

Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said that House leadership has told American Farm Bureau Federation officials they won't appoint farm bill conferees until after the budget and government shutdown issues are resolved.

"They've made it clear that the next step in getting a farm bill passed is for the House to appoint conferees for the conference committee and then made it clear that they will not do that until the budget battle is solved," Hurst said. "So, the farm bill is just absolutely on hold until they solve the government shutdown."

The Senate renamed its original 12 farm bill conferees this week. Hurst hopes Congress finishes its work and does not go for another Farm Bill extension. The latest extension expired Sept. 30.

"Every time they extend the expired farm bill we lose budget baseline," Hurst said. "Just because of the way the budgeting process works in Washington, we'll have fewer dollars. So they'll have to figure out-they've already cut billions of dollars out of farm programs and they'll have to cut more if they pass another extension."

The punitive 1949 permanent law effects won't kick in for a few months, he said, but they will if nothing is done. Hurst is in Washington, D.C., for an AFBF board meeting.

If the 535 members of Congress were all like Missouri's representatives, Hurst said "We'd have a farm bill" because they know how important it is.

Hurst said the situation is "a leadership problem now."