November 29, 2012
This post was originally published by the Farm Foundation’s AgChallenge2050 blog on November 27, 2012 and is reposted here with permission.
The AgChallenge2050 blog is one element of Farm Foundation, NFP’s initiative, A Dialogue on Food and Agriculture in the 21st Century, creating opportunities for a full range of stakeholders to discuss the critical issues of how to feed 9 billion people by 2050 while maintaining and protecting natural resources. Farm Foundation is a non-advocacy provider of objective information and analysis, and is dedicated to bringing people together to seek common ground. AgChallenge2050 is one tool to bring a diverse group of thought leaders to the discussion.
Readers can also view a recorded webcast where these remarks were presented at a November 14, 2012 Farm Foundation® Forum here.
The Five Ds – Disaster, Dairy, Development, Down payment, Deficit reduction
With each passing day, enacting a new five-year farm bill in 2012 becomes more and more of a challenge. While the best outcome is to get a new five-year farm bill yet this year through regular order, what if that does not happen? What then?
In that situation, it is paramount Congress enact a modified extension of the 2008 Farm Bill before the end of the year. The alternative—leaving the farm bill in the limbo land it has been in since Oct. 1—is not a viable option and should be given no credence.
A “clean” extension bill would simply change policy and program ending dates from 2012 to some specified date in 2013. The main issue is how long of a delay to make. Some argue for a short delay, perhaps three months, to keep the pressure on Congress to come up with a deal sooner rather than later. Others argue for a full-year extension to ensure there is enough time to get the job done.
In all likelihood, an extension actually would be for whatever length of time Congress decides to kick the can down the road on the “fiscal cliff” set of issues. In other words, if other authorizing committees of Congress are required to report deficit reduction packages by June 1 or July 15 or whenever, then it seems likely the Agriculture Committees will also be required to report the farm bill at the same time.
A clean extension, while simple, would not be a good extension. In addition to deciding on the length of the delay, there are at least five other “Ds” that Congress must bring into the deal.
Disaster, dairy, development, down payment and deficit reduction—those are the five key Ds of a farm bill extension should the effort to pass a new five-year bill yet this year stall out.
Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, http://sustainableagriculture.net/
Categories: Farm Bill