Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Farm Bill Drags On, Deadline Approaches--Farmers Nervous

WASHINGTON—Congress started working on the Farm Bill more than a year ago and it could take another few weeks to finish writing the legislation.

House and Senate negotiators are meeting today and if they reach an agreement on the bill they could codify the agreement in a few weeks according to the House Agriculture Committee.

Congress extended the current farm bill until Friday.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are in a stalemate over a five year farm bill that will determine crop and commodity programs along with federal price guarantees.

But time is running out for farmers because many crops about to be planted are partially supported by the Farm Bill.

“Some of our farmers are stuck in a waiting mode because some of their funding comes from the farm bill; it's tough for them to go to the bank not knowing how much to borrow,” said Idaho Farm Bureau President Frank Priestley.

It all boils down to two key issues that the House and Senate must wrestle with: one is if the final bill will include tax cuts and how much. The other issue centers around how much money will lawmakers set aside for a permanent disaster relief fund.

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