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Congress passes farm bill extension

Congress passes farm bill extension

President Biden signed the extension

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Lawmakers in the House and Senate passed a farm bill extension this week, which received President Biden’s signature.

The extension, which passed in the House on Nov. 14 and passed in the Senate a day later, is part of a continuing resolution which prevents a government shutdown.

President Biden signed the resolution on Nov. 16, the White House confirmed.

The extension keeps 2018 farm bill active through Sept. 30, 2024, giving legislators more time to develop a new bill.

If the farm bill went without an extension, funding for the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs would’ve expired.

And farm commodity programs would’ve reverted to what’s entrenched in the 1938 and 1949 farm bills.

The 1938 bill, for example, was the first to make price support mandatory for corn, cotton and wheat.

This support would remain even if the government shut down, as the 1938 and 1949 farm bills are considered “permanent law.”

But soybean and other producers would be left out.

And an overall government shutdown would’ve meant departments like the National Agricultural Statistics Service and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wouldn’t collect data.

Members of the ag community are pleased Congress passed the farm bill extension.

But its contents are outdated, and U.S. farmers need modernized programs and supports, said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“The current farm bill was written before the pandemic, before inflation spiked, and before global unrest sent shock waves through the food system. We need programs that reflect today’s realities,” he said in a statement. “So much work has been done by the agriculture committees in both the House and Senate over the past 18 months to prepare to craft a smart and effective farm bill. Congress must keep that momentum going.”

Farmers need a new farm bill early next year, he added.

The National Corn Growers Association agrees.

Farmers are already planning for the 2024 crop year and need program certainty, said Harold Wolle, president of the NCGA.

“Growers are already making decisions for the 2024 crop year based on markets, growing conditions and risk calculations,” he said in a statement. “This extension provides us with much needed certainty around the commodity title and other important USDA programs. But we continue to advocate for a full reauthorization of the farm bill as soon as possible.”

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