As the House continues its search for a new speaker, some members of the Senate are watching and waiting for the legislative work to continue, especially when it comes to the Farm Bill. Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said he believes it continues to get more unlikely that a farm bill will be completed this year.
“The dysfunction in the House makes it literally impossible for them to deal with it because they can’t even have these significant committee meetings and certainly can’t conduct any committee business in terms of a markup or anything like that,” he said. “But Senator Bozeman, the ranking Republican on the Senate Ag Committee has suggested a one-year Farm Bill extension.”
The 2018 Farm Bill expired at the end of September. Many of the programs within it are funded through the end of the year. A farm bill extension would continue existing funding and programs without making changes to the current bill. Senator Cramer said an extension is appropriate in this case because of the way the expiring farm bill was written.
“It’s still pretty good law and I think agriculture by and large, and more importantly the extension of agriculture being the banker, could live pretty well with an extension of the current farm bill and certainly much better than one that actually runs out of money and runs out of authorities,” he said.
Senator Cramer said an extension will provide a sense of certainty for farmers who need to make decisions for next year.
“And the sooner we do that, in my view, the more breathing room we get and the more breathing room for those that are planning,” he said. “But we’re to that point where the planning is well underway even as the last things are being harvested right now in the Great Plains. Those things are being determined right now and those discussions are taking place between farmers and bankers. And we have the additional inflationary costs of inputs and we have higher interest rates. And so, all the more reason for certainty and early planning to take place.” He said Congress needs to provide that breathing room for farmers.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.