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Hill: Pass farm bill, extension "unacceptable"

To hear Brandon’s Agribusiness Report about Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill’s read on the farm bill situation, click here.

The farm bill may be buried under other priorities in the House of Representatives, but Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill wants it done, yesterday.

A World Trade Organization ruling concerning the U.S. cotton program as it relates to Brazilian production is costing the U.S. $12 million every month without a farm bill in place, but Hill says that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Also at risk are programs in the conservation, trade, and research titles. In the commodity title, Hill singles out direct payments, calling them “unneeded subsidies,” and sees any failure to pass a farm bill as a missed opportunity to be done with them.

When Congress returned from the August recess, it had only 9 legislative days to hammer out a farm bill before the extension expires. As some ponder the possibility of another extension, Hill says that’s not an option, and lays the blame for a lack of progress squarely at the feet of the U.S. House of Representatives.

An extension is not acceptable. We need permanent reform. One extension to patchwork our ability to move forward was okay, to get that done, but two extensions? Certainly not. We need to get this done.
The Senate has already named their conferees. They can meet, and within a few hours, hammer out a compromise to get a vote. That’s what we need to have. if not, we’re going to expire this farm bill and start dealing with some of these other issues, and it’ll be forgotten until January 1, when we have an emergency.

House votes on both nutrition cuts and a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond September 30, when the fiscal year ends, are expected between September 18 and 20. The House is also scheduled to recess September 20 until September 30, but GOP and Democrat leaders alike have indicated members may stay and work during the break.