Farm bill now an extension
Farm groups continued to call for a vote in the House on a five-year farm bill Friday, as its leadership appeared ready to vote only on a one-year extension the the existing farm bill. But a one-year extension with some drought assistance for livestock producers is what the House will consider, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) said in an email statement to Agriculture.com:
"Next week’s schedule calls for consideration of a package that includes disaster assistance programs and a one-year extension of current farm policy. It is critical that we provide certainty to our producers and address the devastating drought conditions that are affecting most of the country and I look forward to supporting and advancing this legislation," Lucas said.
That approach drew criticism from the House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson.“Congress should not be playing politics with the rural economy, one of our nation’s economic bright spots. I am against an extension and will remain opposed until I receive assurances that this is the path to conference a five year farm bill with the Senate. Farmers need the certainty of a five year farm bill," Peterson said.
According to the House Ag Committee staff, the cost of drought assistance is $621 million over 10 years, with a net savings of $399 million.
Here is how the Ag Committee describes the legislation:
Section 1. One-Year Extension of the 2008 Farm Bill.
Provides a one-year extension of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, with certain modifications.
Section 2. Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance.
With 64 percent of the contiguous United States experiencing drought, it is important that our nation’s livestock producers be provided with effective risk management tools. The current livestock disaster policies expired in September 2011, one year before the end of the 2008 farm bill. This legislation would re-authorize these policies for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Specifically, Livestock Indemnity Payments (LIP), Livestock Forage Disaster Programs (LFP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP), and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) are all generally reauthorized.