The 2008 farm bill has been extended for nine months.

A plunge off the “fiscal cliff” was averted late Tuesday (Jan. 1) evening when the House passed “HR 8, the Tax Relief Extension Act” -- earlier passed by the Senate, 89 to 8 – on a 257 to 167 vote. The legislation, which contains the 2008 farm bill extension, is expected to raise taxes by some $620 billion by increasing tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples.

The fallback, contentious legislation alleviates immediate worries that dairy product prices will jump. It will also reportedly maintain direct payments.

(For NSAC response, see: Farm bill extension deal a disaster for farmers)

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran explained his yes vote in the following statement: “Failure to enact this package would mean broad tax increases and across-the-board cuts that would be too great a burden for our nation and for Mississippi. As imperfect as it is, this plan will ensure that the income taxes for most families in Mississippi will not shoot upward this year. There is much more work to be done to responsibly implement spending cuts and other measures to reduce the federal deficit and national debt."

The legislation now heads to President Obama for his signature.