More signs that farm bill could be a part of deficit reduction

December 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm 1 comment

There is still no definitive news about the farm bill, but as the deadline for the “fiscal cliff” approaches, there are more hints that the farm bill may be pushed as a part of  a deficit reduction package. As we blogged about previously, the cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) are being sold as a solution to averting the fiscal cliff. Now, Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, has spoken out about the issue:

“The farm bill is one of the only bills that provides substantial deficit reduction that passed the Senate this year,” Stabenow says. “It only makes sense that this deficit reduction bill would be included in a larger deficit reduction agreement.”

The Senate version of the bill would include $23 billion in cuts to nutrition assistance and farm subsidies over 10 years. The House version– which was never brought to a floor vote– would include $35 billion.

While agriculture groups are anxious for a farm bill to be passed, the cuts to SNAP would be devastating to the nearly 50 million people who rely on them, especially in these challenging economic times. We’ve shown before how safety net programs are key to keeping many families out of poverty.

A related news story reports that without a new farm bill, the price of milk could go up to $8 per gallon. The law will revert to the 1940s regulations, which include an out-dated formula for determining the cost of milk.  This would not only be a blow for consumers, but for dairy farmers as well. Even if the cost does not increase all the way up to $8, it is likely that prices will increase both because of a lapse in the farm bill  but also because of the severe drought that affected midwestern farmers.

The issues before Congress right now are pressing and critical to our economy, our agriculture industry, and our families. Hopefully an effort to expedite the passage of a new farm bill won’t compromise the needs of working families across America. As always, the issues are interrelated. A long-term solution would incorporate the needs and perspectives of both.


Entry filed under: Agriculture Policy, Economic Development, Economy, Farm Lending, Farm Policy, Healthy Foods, Jobs & Employment. Tags: , , , , .

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1 Comment

  • […] After a few months of no new farm bill, and much discussion about the impacts of reverting to the laws set in the 1930s and 1940s, Congress extended the 2008 farm bill for another nine months. Both the Senate and the House had come up with reforms for our nation’s agriculture policy– none of these will be acted upon until the extension expires in September. Many advocates who have been lobbying for a better farm bill are expressing their disappointment at Congress’s inability to take action. Food stamp funding was one of the major causes of the stalemate. This will be taken up again in the fall. For now, we’ll at least avoid $8 per gallon milk prices. […]


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