Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation President, issued the following statement about the expiration of the farm bill:
“Farmers and ranchers, along with 90 percent of the country, are frustrated with Congress. Aside from shutting down the government, the one-year farm bill extension Congress granted last session also expired at midnight, while the new farm bill has yet to formally reach the conference process.
“Farm Bureau members are deeply concerned over the political challenges that are making it next to impossible for Congress to reach a compromise on important legislation, while restoring fiscal order and setting a responsible course to get the federal budget back on track. Adding to our frustration, both the House and Senate versions of the farm bill would provide significant savings that could be applied toward reducing the federal deficit.
“Now that the 2008 farm bill extension has expired, farmers once again are left with uncertainty as to the safety net and risk management tools that are important in planning for next year’s crop. And come January, consumers once again face the impact of high food costs as decades-old farm policy kicks in.
“Both the House and Senate agriculture committees have worked hard to put together bipartisan packages that would deliver solid safety net options and comprehensive risk management tools for farmers and ranchers. It is past time for Congress to let these two committees get back to what they do best – work together in a bipartisan fashion to forge the best new farm bill possible in today’s tough political environment.
“Farm Bureau is encouraging Congress and President Obama to work together to get the budget process in order, get our national economy back on track and move forward on legislation important to agriculture, such as the farm bill, immigration and tax reform and waterways funding.”