House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) assured farmers in a statement that "the existing safety net was extended a year to provide the certainty producers need for the 2013 crop year. This is the law of the land."  Informa Economics reported the statement, which also called for an end to "the guessing game about farm policy for the 2013 crop year, especially with respect to direct payments."

"I fully expect sign-up for the 2013 crop year -- including direct payments -- to begin as soon as possible," Lucas said.   When the House Agriculture Committee marks up its next five-year farm bill, the legislation "will honor the commitment Congress made to growers when it extended the 2008 farm bill to cover the 2013 crop year," he said.  Lucas did not indicate in his statement when his committee would hold hearings on or mark up a five-year farm bill.

Public Law 112-240 (American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012), in Title VII, extends for the 2013 crop year direct payments that the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Act) authorized.  The 2008 Act expired on Sept. 30, but its direct-payment authority applied to crop years 2008 through 2012.