Farm bill expires before Congress renews
Congress has missed the deadline to renew the current farm bill, which serves as a guideline for food policy and provides a safety net for food producers.
Although congress did not renew the farm bill in time for the September 30th expiration date, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says nothing should change for farmers until the end of the year, when he is hopeful a renewed or extended farm bill will be in place.
Every five years, congress re-evaluates standards for food policies and insurance measures for farmers. But this year, the House and the Senate are still working out some negotiations for the new farm bill, leaving farmers behind on their planning for the season. "They'll continue to operate just as they have and I believe and I'm hopeful that we will get a reconciled farm bill between the House and the Senate by the end of the year,” said Sonny Perdue, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Until then, the current farm bill will continue to provide all of the same programs to farmers until the end of 2018. "We at USDA are going to fulfill to the limit of the law all of those programs which people have been used to, some of them don't have expiration, some of the minor programs do not but we are going to use all of the flexibility we can,” Perdue said.
He says most of the programs will likely stay the same for the upcoming farm bill. "I think farmers for their planning purposes can plan as if the 2014 farm bill was just being extended,” Perdue said.
But changes in funding could be coming for conservation programs. “They'll be a few things around the edges regarding conservation reserve programs and some of the equip programs and those kinds of things that will be more helpful to conserving great farmland and using productive farmland and preserving the fragile farmland,” Perdue said.
He also says that he has been communicating with President Trump on the importance of stable policies for the producers and says the administration and Congress are working hard to provide information and security to the farmers.