While the farm bill may seem to be stalled, there is still optimism the Conference Committee may be coming up with a bill soon. Why the optimism. Well first of all, even though the Senate is still on vacation, Senate Conferees have been told they could be called back to Washington if a bill is ready for a conference committee vote. Secondly, even though they are still on vacation the Senate Ag Committee Chairperson and the Ranking Republican member both met with their counterpoints in D.C. on Wednesday to see if they could iron out differences. Thirdly, the Farm Bill is the only real critical item remaining on the 2013 Congressional-To Do List. 4th. It looks more and more likely that even if the Congressional Budget Committee can not come to agreement on a new Budget Plan House Speaker John Boehner has said he would pass a bill to fund the government past the January 15th. deadline to avoid another shutdown. And number 5, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has made it clear that he would implement the Agricultural Acts of the 1930's and 1949 that would raise farm subsidies and consumer costs while adding millions to the budgetWhile speaking with Farm Broadcasters Secretary Vilsack applauded the leadership in the conference committee for their efforts to bring a bill to fruition and once again shared the benefits a long term farm bill will provide to the economy, conservation, farmers and consumers.
Unfortunately, just because there are a handful of good reasons to pass a new farm bill there are still several major stumbling blocks that could prevent it. Polling those in the know the opinions vary. And while many still hope for a farm bill to be passed if not this month then sometime in January. there seems to be more and more conversations that are using the word "Extension" when talking about the future of the Farm Bill. Tick...Tick...Tick....only time will tell and time is running out on along term bill. The next opportunity i'll have to share some insight on the Farm BIll will be this weekend when AFBF President Bob Stahlman addresses the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Annual Convention in the Dells.