The House and Senate-passed fiscal cliff bill (H.R. 8, American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012) extended the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246) in general through Sept. 30, 2013. The bill authorizes direct payments at no reduction for the 2013 crop year, retains the Market Access and Foreign Market Development Programs at mandatory funding levels and makes no crop-insurance-program changes.

In response to completion of the budgetary-and-tax-policy negotiations, the USA Rice Federation issued a statement that urged lawmakers to "include a five-year farm bill in broader deficit-reduction legislation this year." USA Rice also said that a farm bill would "offer farmers and ranchers necessary long-term certainty, but it would also yield taxpayers substantial budget savings and help tame our country's deficit spending."

Lawmakers should not allow to go unfinished three years of hard work devoted to writing the next farm bill, USA Rice said. The Federation pointed out that House and Senate Agriculture Committees have developed a set of budget-saving policies that still meet the needs of rural America.

The Conservation Stewardship Program, the Environmental Quality Incentive Program and the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program will continue to operate through Sept. 30, 2014. Congress extended the mandatory-funding authority for these programs in a prior appropriations bill.