SD delegation watching farm bill fate as fiscal cliff loomsThe end of the year and the threat of a major jump in dairy prices in grocery stores in 2013 apparently fueled a deal to extend the farm bill.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
The end of the year and the threat of a major jump in dairy prices in grocery stores in 2013 apparently fueled a deal to extend the farm bill.
The agreement was reportedly reached Sunday between leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees. A vote on one or more bills is scheduled in the House for today, the final day of 2012.
Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., is a member of the House Agriculture Committee and voted for a version of the farm bill this summer. But it stalled and never came to a vote during the fall, even as it became a major issue in congressional races. The Senate passed its version of the bill in June, but without final approval from the House, the bill languished, and the 2008 farm bill expired Sept. 30.
Noem’s spokeswoman, Andrea McCarthy, said Sunday night she had not been told a final deal is in place.
“Rep. Noem supports providing producers with the greatest amount of certainty possible,” said Jordan Stoick, Noem’s chief of staff. “Until a long-term farm bill is finalized, which Kristi continues to push for, she will be calling for the greatest amount of certainty in any short-term measure that is needed.”
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said the House had to budge.
“I’m disappointed that House inaction has left us in a position where a farm bill extension likely remains as the only viable option at this point,” Johnson said in an email response. “We did our job in the Senate last June by passing a bipartisan five year farm bill with important reforms and 23 billion dollars in deficit reduction. The House has done nothing. While certainly not ideal, I hope that we can at least pass an extension of the 2008 farm bill.”
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said while it wasn’t what he hoped for, it was a step worth taking, although he sounded a note of caution.
“An extension of the 2008 Farm Bill is the most we can hope for now and I support inclusion of livestock disaster programs as part of the extension package,” Thune said in a statement to The Daily Republic.
“However, the inclusion of new dairy policy in an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill will make the package more difficult for some members to support.”