You could probably ask a hundred farmers and get mixed returns on whether they think Congress will pass the 2012 Farm Bill before the November election. Some are pushing for it so Congress could reinstate some of the 2008 Farm Bill provisions that expired last year. Without them, all disaster declarations really mean is that you are eligible for low-interest loans. So far, no loans have been made in Indiana under the disaster declaration program form this recent drought.
Some betting people say both sides won't put politics aside long enough to pass any meaningful legislation, including the farm bill. Dave Forgey, Logansport, disagrees. This unconventional dairyman thinks a farm bill will be passed before the election.
Forgey once ran a conventional dairy, and was one of the premier alfalfa growers in Indiana. Then he converted to rotational and seasonal dairying, and upped profit margins over the long haul. He has been active in following the farm bill debate, and has been working with dairy leaders to get some changes in federal dairy legislation.
Forgey thinks that if an amendment before the House now was included in the bill, it would be favorable to the dairy industry in the long run. It wouldn't solve all of their problems over night, he says, but it would give them a framework for coming up with a more workable system in the future. Milk currently nets more per hundredweight for farmers in New Zealand than in the U.S., and Forgey thinks that shouldn't happen.
His thought is that both sides need to pass the 2012 Farm Bill before the election for their own benefit. It's one reason why he's hoping to see the amendment included in the House version, and the entire bill passed into law within the next few weeks.