Farm Bill Extension Expires

October 1, 2013 - While Sept. 30 marked the end of the federal government's funding for its fiscal year, it also marked the expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill.
The 2008 Farm Bill expired Monday evening after a nine-month extension. The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill in June (with an energy title and biofuel-related provisions), and after much wrangling, the House passed a slimmed-down version in July (which also included the energy title). However, both chambers have yet to convene a conference to reconcile the two versions of the bill, and it's unclear when that will occur.
Farm bill advocates were disappointed with lack of congressional action. "The expiration of last year's Farm Bill extension illustrates why we need a five- year Farm Bill, with essential investments for energy programs," said Lloyd Ritter, co-director of the Agriculture Energy Coalition. "Rural communities need stable, long-term polic[ies] that enable them to plan for investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, generate economic growth and create jobs," he added.
"Congress has yet again failed its most basic duty: to debate and pass legislation and, frankly, we've run out of ways to say we're disappointed," said American Soybean Association President Danny Murphy. "The farm bill...provides critical funding for myriad programs on which farmers depend, including key conservation programs, indispensable foreign food assistance and market development activities, and industry-advancing research. ... [T]his Congress is more interested in scoring partisan political points than serving its constituents. Once again, Congress fails to act and American farmers pay the price," he added.
Similar comments came from Brent Erickson, executive vice president of Biotechnology Industry Organization's Industrial & Environmental Section. "The Farm Bill energy programs have unleashed innovations in the biotechnology, advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals sectors that are creating jobs and reviving economic growth in America's heartland. Fostering a stable policy environment is critical to continued job growth. But the expiration of last year's extension of the Farm Bill could have a chilling effect on investment. We should not once again waste the effort Congress has made in forging a five-year Farm Bill," he added.
--Rachel Gantz,