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Post-election farm bill questions loom

Jeff Caldwell 11/07/2012 @ 2:00pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Tuesday's elections featured two sides of an argument about how to move the nation's economy forward. And this will continue to influence upcoming elections.

Zero in on the farm sector and it's easy to see the connection between the macroeconomy and the farm sector, especially when it comes to creating policy for both, says Ohio State University ag economist Carl Zulauf. And with the conclusion of the 2012 campaign, there are now major questions on the farm policy front that, in being answered, will have long-lasting implications, in both how and when the next farm bill is finally forged into law.

"Interestingly, the debate over the 2012 farm bill involves many aspects of this broader policy discussion: debate is occurring over both the form and cost of the farm safety net, as well as whether the safety net should be delivered through private agents, i.e., crop insurance, or via government agencies, e.g., the Farm Service Agency," Zulauf said Wednesday. "While entirely speculative, it is possible that history may reveal that the 2012 farm bill ultimately served to guide the resolution of the policy issues surrounding the broader U.S. safety net for the twenty-first century.

"In short, it may be fortuitous that during the forthcoming lame-duck session of Congress the debate over the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic budget cuts and tax increases coincides with the debate over the farm bill," he adds.

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