Farm Bill Expires
The current Farm Bill officially expired October 1. While House and Senate conferees have been negotiating on a new Farm Bill, they have not finalized a deal on a conference report to send to the President. With the House recessed until after the November election, the earliest that Congress can act is November. This development will affect different programs in different ways. Many of the larger programs with mandatory funding can continue to operate at least through the end of the year. However, if Congress does not act in a timely manner to reauthorize or extend the current Farm Bill, farm policy will revert to what is known as “permanent law,” a statute enacted in 1949 that would force all manner of drastic, and largely problematic, changes to current farm policy. The bottom line is that there is strong impetus for Congress to act, but the situation does not become dire for the major commodities that drive the Farm Bill—namely dairy and row crops—until December.