Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Farm Bill Solution Satisfies Nobody

While Congress did manage to pass a nine-month farm bill extension, no one is particularly happy with it.

BPA in milk jugs

Photo: www.bluewaikiki.com (flickr)

At the very least, the recently passed extension will prevent the nation's milk prices from doubling.

Remember the farm bill extension that passed the Senate floor and the House Agriculture Committee?

Following the opposition of Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, the bill never became policy.

The Final Minute Of The Eleventh Hour

The failed extension, designed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK), would have cost approximately $1 billion.

Critics of the drafted extension contended that it was too expensive and that it would interfere with legislators’ ability to pass broader budgetary legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff.

So instead of passing a one-year extension both chambers of Congress agreed on a nine-month one that averts the “dairy cliff” and renews subsidies for a number of industrial crops, but that cuts budgets for many organic and environmental initiatives.

Furious Farmers

Farmers’ organizations and legislators from agricultural states have been quick to express their ire at what they perceive as the insufficiency of the farm bill extension.

The National Farmers’ Union issued a statement saying, “Congress has left rural America out in the cold,” and that “an extension represents a short sighted, temporary fix that ultimately provides inadequate solutions that will leave our farmers and ranchers crippled by uncertainty.”

Senator Stabenow, who voted for the legislation, said from the floor, “There is no way to explain this. None. There is absolutely no way to explain this other than agriculture is just not a priority.”

Ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, Collin Peterson (D-MN), voted against the extension, calling it “absolutely outrageous.”

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Sarah Gordon

Sarah Gordon has been interested in food ethics since she was 15, learned about industrial slaughter, and launched into 10 years of vegetarianism. These days, she strives to be a conscientious omnivore. Now a PhD candidate in folklore, her research has caused her to spend a lot of time in the remote Canadian sub-arctic, where the lake trout (sustainably harvested) tastes amazing.

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