Farm bill expiration leaves farmers guessing

Oct 1, 2013

tractor on farmland
A tractor moves through farmland.
Credit (tpsdav/pixabay)

Farmers are working without a farm bill after a nine-month extension on the last one expired Sept. 30. Farmers are still out in the fields, but they are working with a growing set of unknowns.

Last year at this time, the upcoming presidential election seemed largely to blame for Congressional inaction on the farm bill. This year, Iowa farmer Jeff Longnecker sees no obvious explanation for the prolonged partisan bickering.

"Once again we do not have a farm bill in place," Longnecker said. "I don’t know what’s going on there. It’s like they’re both just trying to see how long they can stretch this out and not come up with an answer."

Longnecker says farm programs can influence many of his business decisions. Without clear federal policies in place, he and other farmers are left guessing. House and Senate negotiators have yet to start hammering out a new bill, and Senate leaders say they won’t support another extension.