Colorado Corn | Sept. 24, 2018
Passage of the Farm Bill seems grim with three legislative days left before the 2014 Farm Bill’s expiration.
Despite numerous committee staff meetings over the last past two months and assurances by the House-Senate Conference members in their public hearing earlier this month that timely passage of a new farm bill was attainable, passage of the bill does not look likely.
Recently, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Minority Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) indicated the remaining differences being worked out include the following titles: commodity, conservation, energy, and nutrition programs.
While the largest farm bill programs won’t be impacted by the 2014 bill’s expiration, funding will cease for 39 smaller programs, including the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. Unlike previous extensions in the farm bill’s recent history, any short or long-term extension of the 2014 Farm Bill does not continue FMD’s annual authorization of $34.5 million.
How would this impact the corn industry? U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is a FMD recipient. Without funding, they will be forced to implement their reserve policy. The disruption in USDA resources comes at the exact time USGC is preparing proposals for funding of the new Agriculture Trade Program (ATP) that is part of the Administration’s plan to mitigate the economic impact of retaliatory tariffs. If secured, these funds, cannot replace the USDA funds to support FMD resources authorized by the farm bill.
Colorado Corn Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, and other state associations are vocalizing the need for negotiations to take place, for the leaders and members of the Farm Bill Conference Committee to put their differences and politics aside and reach an agreement on a bipartisan farm bill that can be signed into law before the current bill expires on Sunday, September 30th.
Those interested in contacting their U.S. Senator and Representative to ask for passage of a strong Farm Bill, click here.