There is still major uncertainty surrounding the agriculture budget and the process for reauthorizing federal farm policy in the 113th Congress
There is still major uncertainty surrounding the agriculture budget and the process for reauthorizing federal farm policy in the 113th Congress. The New Year’s fiscal cliff deal included an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill for one year.
Direct payments, which were targeted for elimination in the 2012 Farm Bill proposals that passed the Senate and House Agriculture Committee, were part of the extension. The USDA recently confirmed it will issue the payments this fall unless some other legislation changes the law before that time.
There are many threats to the program. There was an unsuccessful amendment to move funding for direct payments to Hurricane Sandy relief, but it did not pass.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said this week USDA will allow farmers to get out of – or into – the ACRE program for the term of the one-year extension. ACRE was written such that farmers had to remain in it for the life of the farm bill after signing up the first time.