The farm bill and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seem certain not to meet the weekend deadline, leaving more uncertain times for agriculture.
Negotiators were trying to reach an agreement on the farm bill this week, but the clock is all but out of time as the current bill expires Sunday. Monday means critical trade programs will not have funding, including the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development program, seen as key units of USDA given the current trade climate.
Leaders of the farm bill conference committee met Wednesday and are not ready to offer an extension on the current farm bill.
House Agriculture Committee chairman Mike Conaway says “the world didn’t stop turning” when previous farm bills expired without a new law in place. Conaway told Politico “putting this off makes no sense whatsoever,” adding “the decisions to be made are on the table.”
Adding further uncertainty, the U.S. is likely to forge ahead with its handshake agreement with Mexico on NAFTA, leaving Canada behind, for now. Regarding NAFTA, dairy is one of the main holdups, as the U.S. wants better market access.
Source: National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.