The current farm bill will expire on Sept. 30. Congress has a handful of days to make an important decision, and they have three options: to pass a final farm bill, extend the 2014 farm bill, or let the farm bill expire.
At this point, swift passage of a final farm bill before the Sept. 30 deadline seems unlikely. Yet, Congress has been unable to reach consensus. In the absence of a new farm bill, it is imperative that lawmakers extend current legislation.
Farmers and ranchers across the country rely on important programs that will sunset without an extension of the 2014 farm bill. More than $1 billion in available federal funding for a host of programs will be inaccessible. Support for beginning farmers, veterans, conservation, local food production, and more will be abandoned – and Congress is culpable.
Ignorance might be bliss for lawmakers in D.C. – far removed from the producers who are struggling to make ends meet. But, failure to take action and extend the farm bill is a disservice to America’s farmers and ranchers.
Congress must act responsibly, set aside differences, and recognize that an extension will give producers the stability they need while farm bill negotiations continue.
Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.