The defeat of a five year farm bill in the House of Representatives was unexpected and disappointing to agricultural organizations looking forward to getting some certainty for the future after last year’s drawn out battle that ultimately ended in a one year extension of the 2008 bill.
“The American Farm Bureau Federation is highly disappointed the House did not complete work on the 2013 farm bill,” said American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman in a statement. “It was a balanced bill that would have provided much needed risk management tools and a viable economic safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers.”
National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson said they are not just highly but “extremely” disappointed to see the House fail to pass the bill. “Up to the last minute our organization has actively and consistently called for passage of the legislation,” she said. “We will be engaged in all efforts needed to secure passage in the House and bring the bill to Conference.”
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued a statement saying they are “deeply” disappointed, adding that “With today’s failure to pass a farm bill, the House has let down rural America.”
American Soybean Association President Danny Murphy voiced not only extreme disappointment but frustration as well. “Today’s failure leaves the entire food and agriculture sector in the lurch. Once again, the nation’s soybean farmers and the 23 million Americans whose jobs depend on agriculture are left holding the bag.”
Even the cattlemen are disappointed. “This failure by the House places cattlemen and women behind the curve on having agriculture policy which not only provides certainty for producers nationwide, but also incorporates priorities important to the cattle industry,” says National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Scott George. “This was not a perfect bill for any industry, but in the end cattlemen and women made sacrifices in order to support this bill. We expected members of the House to do the same.”
As to what happens now, no one really knows, but there are several options. The House could go back to committee and try again, which Rep. Frank Lucas is likely not excited about. They could go to conference with the Senate and try to negotiate with nothing as happened when the House failed to pass a transportation bill last year. Otherwise, they have to approve yet another extension unless they want to revert back to so-called “permanent” 1949 farm law. We’ve never done that, but that threat is always there.