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Farm Bill Extension Receives Large Disapproval

Farm Bill Extension Receives Large Disapproval
Many groups say the extension won't provide enough certainty for agriculture.

Following the announcement of a proposed one-year extension to the current Farm Bill, groups are voicing concern that such a measure will not address the needs of ag interests.

The new legislation includes disaster assistance and caps certain conservation programs.

The American Soybean Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation and a coalition of Conservation groups each issued statements Monday expressing disapproval for the proposed extension.

Many groups say the extension won't provide enough certainty for agriculture.

American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said the measure "does nothing to help hog or poultry producers, little to provide assistance to the dairy industry and nothing to aid fruit and vegetable producers who may not have crop insurance available to them as a risk management tool."

Stallman said the extension "falls well short" of recognizing the example set by the Senate and House Agriculture Committee chairs and ranking members to forge fiscally responsible legislation.

Both the NFU and ASA echoed Stallman's statements, and said that an extension does not meet producer needs. NFU said they would support an extension only if the next step was to conference a five-year bill before Sept. 30.

NFU President Roger Johnson said the extension is wasting time that could be spent on a full bill. "The clock is ticking," he said.

ASA said they would also support an extension, but only if there are assurances that a new five-year bill can be negotiated when Congress reconvenes.

The National Milk Producers Federation wasn't happy with the safety net program for dairies in the extension. Jerry Kozak, President of NMPF, said the current policy is outdated and costly. He said the House Agriculture Committee-passed bill was a "comprehensive reform" that included a better safety net, and encouraged Congress to reject the proposed extension.

Conservation groups authored a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner expressing disapproval of the extension. In the letter, they said the cuts to conservation programs weren't proportional in the extension.

"The House's extension bill makes deep and disproportionate cuts to the Conservation Title of the bill to offset emergency drought payments that have been added to the extension. In fact, the Conservation Title is 30% of the farm program spending baseline, excluding nutrition programs, and 7% of the Farm Bill overall, but sustains 75% of funding cuts in this bill — most of which are concentrated in the first two years," the letter said.

The letter was authored by American Farmland Trust, Ducks Unlimited, National Wildlife Federation and others.

A full House vote on the proposed legislation is scheduled for this week.

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