Home 5 Ag Stories Ag Economist says don’t rush the farm bill

Ag Economist says don’t rush the farm bill

INTERVIEW: Dan Sumner_AgEconomist_UCDavis

by Ben Nuelle 

An economist who’s followed farm bills for 35 years says to congress don’t rush it through.

Dr. Dan Sumner is an agriculture economist at University of California-Davis. A trend he’s picked up on over the last three decades is every farm bill starts early and ends late.

“The first one I was aware of President Reagan signed after Christmas and that was considered very late. I still have a bunch of files about the 2007 farm bill. That actually got signed in the middle of 2008. George Bush signed a farm bill a couple of years late. None of those started late they just ended late and stuff happens.”

Sumner says a prime example is the ’95 Farm Bill.

“They didn’t finish it on time it was in ’96 by the time they finished the ’95 farm bill. Then a year later they had many amendments that changed most of the farm programs.”

He says this is why it is important to think things through.

“The biggest issue right now for agriculture is to not overreact to what had been low prices in the last few years. You have low prices and you overreact then prices change because world markets change then you end up with a farm bill that is out of date by the time it passes.”

Almost 30 years ago this exact thing happened.

“They said prices are low. We’ll pass a law and legislate very high prices and it turns out world prices came back up and the farm bill was way out of date and caused all kinds of havoc.”