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, firstname.lastname@example.org