Last week, Congress decided to let the farm bill matter ride and go on vacation until 2014. Meanwhile, the current farm legislation is set to expire on Dec. 31 of this year.
Itís likely that some kind of short extension will be enacted - or may have already been enacted by the time this articleís published. But most folks in agribusiness know a band-aid when they see one. The needs and problems taken as a whole out here in the heartland are enormous and a quick fix just wonít cut it.
Ag producers, people in finance, vets, feed operations and stores, extension agents, equipment dealers, everyone directly involved, or on the periphery of U.S. agribusiness, need at least some idea of where the countryís farm policy is heading over the next five years.
Failing that, the agribusiness community is to some extent playing with one hand tied behind its back.
Weíre talking about our lifeline here, about fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, poultry, fish, meat, bread and things we donít even know about, but depend upon all of the time anyway. Agribusiness is the gateway to those things and by extension, to the prosperity and health of our families, communities and the American people at large.
For years, Congress has failed to pass a new farm bill, one of the most vital pieces of legislation it can ever hope to enact. Additional, repeated rounds of Congressional Kick the Can is not good enough.
Itís way past time to pass a new farm bill.