What is in this article?:
- Farm bill extension response a mixed bag
- Peterson anger
- After a withering, partisan lead-up to the vote, few were popping champagne corks in the aftermath of legislation that brings a farm bill extension.
Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, is clearly angry with how the White House negotiated over a new five-year farm bill. Peterson was also instrumental in putting together the dairy package favored by the National Milk Producers Federation. “Upset is an understatement,” Peterson said in a POLITICO report. “I’m not going to talk with those guys. I’m done with them for the next four years. They are on their own. They don’t give a (expletive) about me anyway.”
Renewable energy advocates were happier with the legislation as it reinstates the biodiesel tax incentive for 2012 and 2013.
"We're pleased that Congress has finally approved an extension so that we can get production back on track," said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). "This is not an abstract issue. In the coming months, because of this decision, we'll begin to see real economic impacts with companies expanding production and hiring new employees."
According to the NBB, the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive was first implemented in 2005. Congress has allowed it to lapse twice, in 2010 and again in 2012.
Meanwhile, commodity and farm groups continue to urge Congress to pass a new five-year farm bill.
Erik Younggren, National Association of Wheat Growers President, is pleased farmers now, “know the parameters of tax policy and the farm safety net for spring planting decisions and allow continued operations of critical foreign market development programs.” However, he continued, “It is of the utmost urgency to our farmer-members that members of the 113th Congress reauthorize a new farm bill expeditiously. We call on policymakers to come to the table, compromise and send a five-year farm bill to the President for signature this year.”
National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson called for an end to “petty partisanship” and lamented that, “Once again Congress’ failure to act pushes agriculture aside hampering farmers’ ability to make sound business decisions for the next five years. The (NCGA) is tired of the endless excuses and lack of accountability. The system is clearly broken.”
Danny Murphy, American Soybean Association (ASA) President and soybean farmer from Canton, Miss., said the lack of a new farm bill following several years of work was disappointing. Even so, the extension provides “important foreign market development, disaster assistance, and farm safety net programs to continue.
“ASA is also pleased that the larger package passed by both the House and the Senate to avert the ‘fiscal cliff’, of which the extension was a part, included a meaningful solution to the estate tax challenges faced by farm families and many other small businesses.”
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition was much less forgiving with the extension as “many smaller, targeted programs to fund farm and food system reform and rural jobs … were left out completely. Also left out of the final deal is any workable dairy policy for the next year and any disaster aid for livestock and fruit producers. The deal also has the effect of keeping farmers from being able to improve soil and water conservation through enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program at the present time.
“We are extremely disappointed in the Republican leadership for proposing this deal and in the White House for accepting it.”
Mining the same vein, Roger Johnson, president of National Farmers Union, pointed out the extension “does not provide mandatory funding for the energy title, specialty crops and organic provisions, and new important programs for beginning farmers and ranchers.
“Farmers, ranchers, rural communities and all Americans deserve better and would have been better served with a new five-year farm bill. It is truly a shame that the bipartisan work of both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees has been summarily and entirely discarded.”