Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today sent a letter to Farm Bill conferees strongly urging them to reach an agreement on the controversial Farm Bill provisions rather than consider another long-term extension of the expired 2008 Farm Bill. Thune said in his letter, “An unfinished Farm Bill will continue the highly uncertain future for agriculture producers, ag-related businesses, consumers, rural economies, and the stewardship of our land and water brought about by last year’s extension.”
In his letter, Thune recommended that conferees drop the most controversial Commodity Title provision which authorizes payments based on planted acres and fixed commodity prices. According to Thune, conferees must first reach agreement on basic core program provisions that are not only effective for the agriculture producers, but also are defensible to taxpayers and our global trading partners.
“No one gains by another long-term Farm Bill extension,” said Thune. “Commodity crop producers are facing rapidly dropping prices, livestock producers are waiting on disaster assistance, and conservation programs need to be locked in to help provide land stewardship tools to protect our soil and water.”
The 2008 Farm Bill Conference Report was filed 151 days after the Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill. During that time, the 2002 Farm Bill was extended for six short-term intervals in 2007 and 2008 ranging from three months to one week. “Based upon the timeframe established by the 2008 Farm Bill, there is still time for conferees to reach agreement and have a Farm Bill in place for 2014 crops,” said Thune. “I’m hopeful we can enact a new Farm Bill that brings our agriculture policies into the 21st century.”Although, the Senate-passed Farm Bill includes controversial Commodity Title provisions, the bill also contains several provisions championed by Thune, including livestock disaster programs, first authored by Thune and Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in the 2008 Farm Bill, and his sodsaver provision.