Farm bill delayed, again
Remember when the senate and house ag committee members were so concerned about passing a farm bill on time so that farmers and ranchers who are suffering from low crop and livestock prices and retaliatory tariffs can have some level of certainty in these uncertain times?
Well, that didn’t happen. On Sunday, Sept. 30, the farm bill expires.
The house members have flown the coop until Nov. 13 because, as we all know, the next election means more to politicians than passing a farm bill.
To say that many farmers and farm groups are disappointed would be an understatement.
According to the U.S. Wheat Associates, “In the current farm bill, 39 programs that received mandatory funding at $50 million per year or less do not have a baseline budget beyond FY-2018 that ends on Sept. 30.”
One of those programs is the Foreign Market Development program, which is pretty important right now during this tit-for-tat tariff war. This program was supposed to be one of the solutions for those crops that lost foreign markets when tariffs were imposed.
“The FMD program is fundamental to our work promoting U.S. wheat around the world,” said Vince Peterson, president of U.S. Wheat Associates, which is one of 23 organizations awarded FMD funding in FY-2018. “We use FMD funding to cover the salaries of more than 40 non-American employees and expenses for 14 overseas offices. With no FMD allocation, we will have to cover costs incurred after October 1 by shifting funds away from our activities or by using reserves from producer funds. That is a short-term bridge that we have used in the past. But it is not sustainable for more than several months; beyond that, we would have to start cutting activities and eventually closing offices.”
Oh, I’m sure that congress will do something so that this doesn’t happen, but this could have been avoided had they done what they were supposed to do, when they were supposed to do it.
This seems to happen every time the farm bill comes up.
My question is why can’t they meet a deadline?
I meet deadlines every day, every week, every year. If I don’t you won’t get your magazine, our advertiser’s ads will not be viewed by our readers and I would be out of a job.
Sometimes meeting deadlines means making quick, not so popular decisions. But the alternative is doing nothing, which is not acceptable.
I think they should be locked in a room and forced to pass a farm bill and remain in that room until their work is done.
Or maybe we should just not vote for them when they run for re-election.