The 2008 farm bill officially expired as of Sept. 30 and several industry organizations issued a joint statement Oct. 1 indicating their stance on what would happen until the next farm bill is passed and takes effect. These organizations explained which programs and industry segments would be most impacted by the expiration of the bill. The groups issuing the joint statement included American Farm Bureau Federation, American Pulse Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, National Sunflower Association, United Fresh Produce Association, USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, U.S. Canola Association and Western Growers Association.
The joint statement said: “The 2008 law governing many of our nation’s farm policies expired on Sunday, Sept. 30, and the 2012 Farm Bill needed to replace it is bottled up in Congress. While the Senate and the House Agriculture Committees were both able to pass their versions of the new farm bill, the full House was unable to do so. While expiration of farm bill program authorities has little or no effect on some important programs, it has terminated a number of important programs and will very adversely affect many farmers and ranchers, as well as ongoing market development and conservation efforts.”
In the statement, the groups allege that dairy producers will face the most significant challenges as a result of the expiration of the farm bill. The Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program expired on Sept. 30 and leaves dairy farmers uncertain if adequate assistance will be available to compensate them. There are no other safety nets to help dairy producers offset the high feed costs.
Another aspect that could impact farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses will be the program Foreign Market Development Program (FMD), which pool technical and financial resources to conduct overseas market development.
“Since 31 percent of our gross farm income comes from exports which also make a positive contribution to our nation’s trade balance, trade promotion is an important part of our safety net. Other countries will most certainly take advantage of the fact that the program is rendered inoperable and will do what they can to steal our markets – and everyone knows, the hardest market to get is the one you lost,” the organizations said in their statement.