The Montana Farm Bureau says there is no time to rest when it comes to passing a version of the 2012 Farm Bill in the House.
“We commend the Senate, and especially Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, for their hard work on seeing the Senate version of the farm bill come to fruition. However, we’re afraid the House is already running out of time,” says MFBF Vice President of Governmental Relations John Youngberg.
Youngberg, who just returned from a legislative trip to Washington, D.C., said although House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson has faith the bill will get through the House in July, the chances of that are looking slim.
“Peterson indicated the House version of the farm bill would probably be marked up next week; now we see the mark-up of the bill is scheduled for July 11. They need to mark up the House bill, vote on it and get it to conference. Then there is the long August recess,” Youngberg explains. “One concern once they actually start discussing it is the $8-$10 billion difference between what the Senate approved and what the House wants to cut. The last farm bill was in conference for eight weeks, but we will not have anywhere near that time available.”
Youngberg worries many House members will be gone in the fall for re-election campaigns, and they could end up conferencing it during a lame-duck session following the November 2012 General Election, which is extremely difficult.
“This farm bill needs to pass by the end of year, and hopefully long before,” says Youngberg. “If there is no new farm bill by Dec. 31, 2012, it reverts back to the1949 farm bill. Of course, that could be good for our farmers; they’d be seeing $18 per-bushel wheat. Seriously, though, it’s imperative the farm bill gets moving so this country’s farmers and ranchers can make their planting decisions as they head into fall.”