Short-term agreement reached for farm legislation
December 30th, 2012
04:26 PM ET
10 years ago

Short-term agreement reached for farm legislation

(CNN) - Following increased pressure to pass farm legislation by the end of the year, Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Saturday that the House and Senate have developed a short-term farm bill extension to prevent dairy prices from soaring in the new year.

The bill "also prevents eventual damage to our entire agriculture economy," Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement.

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Rep. Frank Lucas, Stabenow's Republican counterpart in the House, said the extension would last one year, but GOP leadership aides tell CNN there has been no decision on whether to bring the stopgap measure for a vote by January 1.

If the House does decide to take up the bill, lawmakers could vote as early as Sunday night.

The news on the possible extension came as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack issued sharp warnings in an interview that aired Sunday morning on CNN, saying if Congress fails to act in the next two days, consumers could face a spike in the price of milk, along with other products, after the government's dairy subsidy expires at the start of the year.

The overall five-year farm bill, which aids farmers with price protections and subsidies, expired on September 30 after the House faced GOP division over extending the bill. Some conservative lawmakers said the newer version didn't go far enough in reform, while others said the price tag was too high, especially in provisions dealing with food stamps.

The recent expiration doesn't affect existing federal support for the remainder of 2012, but Vilsack cautioned that Americans could see stark changes come 2013.

The reason: If a new bill isn't passed or the most recent one extended, the formula for calculating the price the government pays for dairy products defaults back to a 1949 statute. Under that formula, the government would be forced to buy milk at twice today's price - driving up the cost for everyone, CNNMoney reports.

The absence of farm legislation will also hurt agricultural exports, farmers markets, hunting grounds and farming families, Vilsack added.
"Across the board, in virtually every aspect of our economy and society, there is an impact."

Reiterating Vilsack's remarks, Stabenow said in her statement that it was "critical" for Congress to eventually pass a broader, five-year farm bill to give farmers and ranchers a better sense of security.

"If a new farm bill doesn't pass this Congress we'll soon hold another mark-up and just keep working until one is enacted next year," she said.

- CNN's Alan Silverleib, Ted Barrett, Deirdre Walsh, Ashley Killough, and CNNMoney's Steve Hargreaves contributed to this report.

Filed under: Agriculture Department • Tom Vilsack
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl


    December 30, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    One down in favor of the little guy. Next!

    December 30, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. penguin

    More subsidies for farmers, yet farmers vote overwhelmingly Republican. Could it be that government assistance is actually a boon to the economy? Agriculture is the most socialized program we have and there is little doubt that our agricultural system with its mix of capitalism with government support is by far the best in the world.

    December 30, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. What

    The nation is not fixed until the GOP is dead and gone.

    December 30, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    2012 Congress had 3,914 bills on the table to pass, they passed 61which amounts to approximately 2 months of work and 10 months of doing nothing but still being paid by taxpayers. An employer would fire you and I for none production without pay but the Constitution protects their pay but when Americans are out of work this GOP Congress doesn't want Americans to have unemployment benefits and the fiscal cliff doesn't affect them.

    December 30, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. TexTeacher

    Ok this just doesn't make sense. Not more that two months ago I saw a news segment on CNN or NBC in which farmers themselves stated that they didn't need "farm subsidies." In fact some of them were dairy farmers. At the time felt great these guys are honest lets stop wasting funds.

    December 30, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Name lynn

    while fighting over the fiscal cliff what about the dairy products my children want eat ceral nor drink if i pay seven dollars for a gallon of milk eggs, pancakes, juices are on my tabel these stupid republicans an boehner and the people putting dairy products out of business

    December 30, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. 2012liberal

    I am so sick and tired of piece meal bills. Nothing permanant or a real fix of anything. The house has all year 2 work on these kind of crucial bills but all they take up r bills they know they will get a majority of the majority 2 pass. That is y boehner is NOT a leader. If it doesnt get a majority of his party, he wont bring it 2 floor 4 vote, even if it will pass w majority of dems. Senseless! They wouldnt take up farm bill unless it drastically cut food stamps and schl lunch prngrams! Really. And u call yrslvs christians. Laughable. So how much does this extention cut 2 the least of us?

    December 30, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    As a republican,i dont want to sound mean but i could care less about that farm bill.its just another hand out that we as a nation can nolonger afford.and a new study came out that said after 3years of ag,e milk does not really do your body good.this is just unacceptable bill.we our fighting for our economic survival. "Got milk"? No. "Got debt"? Yes

    December 30, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. 2012liberal

    It is just so sad that republicans 4 the past 4 yrs hv wanted a failed president that they used the american ppl as their sacrificial sacrifice. We r bloodied by their non actions. Dean has it right on district lines. Our district lines need 2 b defined by non elected neutral commitees. When u hv elected officials with an agenda against the ppl and only 4 gd of selves needs 2 end. May start forcing officials 2 actually focus on reason they r there instead of politics of groups and special intrests.

    December 30, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. Dave

    Our big-agri system is the most screwed-up way to produce good food in the whole of world history. The entire system needs to be completely abandoned. The Dept of Agriculture needs to be completely eliminated. Nobody but the very, very wealthy benefit from our system – and THEY do not eat what their agri-businesses produce.

    December 30, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Noel

    This article begins, "Following increased pressure...". Never explains who is doing the pressuring to pass farm legislation. Is it a lobby? or is it Republican politicians from the Farm Regions? These People are all for austerity for others but not for themselves..!

    December 30, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. Scott

    A one year extension so they can engage in the same drama next year. Congress needs to reform itself.

    December 30, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  14. Lady Sheona

    I hope our congressmen will consider what effect they will make on many children already dealing with nutritional health issues here in theU.S.

    December 30, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  15. John

    We can't afford to subsidize everyone. Farmers are over subsidized. Think about it. The government guarantees a minimum amount for produce and if the crop yield is poor, the government basically pays for crop insurance. How can you lose? We even pay them not to grow crops!
    We should eliminate the pay to leave land fallow and cut the rest of the subsidies 75%. Let them figure out how the 25% is best spent.

    December 30, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. Pete

    The middleclass needed this because you don't want $8-9 gallon milk or $5-7 dozen eggs do yah..The farmers would be rich overnight something they really deserve at the 98% ers expense,the 2% don't mind because its just petty cash to them anyway..

    December 30, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  17. Jessy The Gnostic

    This, they can resolve. But a looming crisis, they can't? We are about to fall over a cliff and all these folks worry about is the price of a gallon of milk? Why do we still bother voting Democrats and Republicans into office?

    December 30, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  18. Barbara

    Being from Michigan I have a unique view and understanding of Sen. Stabenow and know her to be a conscientious and committed person in everything that she works on. Many years ago and long before she was an elected official, I worked with her (from afar) on committees reviewing Friend of the Court issues. I was amazed at how she could look at all sides, ask the hard questions and then be the conduit for solutions that all sides could live with. Her skills have obviously been recognized and appreciated because MI keeps re-electing her to ever higher posts. At the risk of veering "off-topic" I would like to remind those who so vocally minimize our president's past experience as a community organizer.... from everything I know, Sen. Stabenow started as a very educated and dedicated social worker. For the uninitiated, both social work and community org require incredible abilities to engage, listen, hear, evaluate, manage and ultimately bring people together toward a viable and palatable solution. Nothing is ever perfect but having an open mind and a keen intellect coupled with the skills to bring people together.... Well look at what she did with the Farm Bill.
    Just one American's point of view.

    December 30, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. Rod

    Farm subsidies are just another form of welfare. All subsidies should be stopped. There is no such thing as the small farmer anymore. They are all corporate. Ethanol is another worthless program. We use one gallon of fossil fuel to generate three quarts of
    ethanol. Where is the damn logic in that. Farm subsidies are another leach on the government teat. Farmers ask for subsidies, developers ask for tax breaks, the middle class pays for it all. I own my own business. No one subsidizes my business. I live or die on my own. Why don't the rest of you do the same?

    December 30, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. isolate

    Why don't they simply annul the 1949 rule? That seems to be at the heart of the problem. The world of 1949 is long gone.

    December 30, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    why are we talking about this legislation? We can't afford kicking important issuesdown the road for political

    December 30, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It would be nice if the Food Stamp program wasn't a target. The conservatives don't seem to understand the need that the people who are on it. They seem to see it as just another hand out. I would say that if there was a major non-profit that provided help in getting people food that covers the whole contry, then there would not be need for a food stamp program.

    December 30, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  23. rem43fl

    There used to be a party around the turn of the Century (the one beginning with 1900..) called the Do Nothings. I fear we have seen their cumulative return in the form of two parties who can't make even the most simple, civil decision!! Once again, think about this. If you don't do your work, you don't get paid... Or you get fired. So what should we do with Congress?? They haven't done their work in the last 4 years, so shall we make them give back the money or just fire them? Or BOTH?? Nipsey Russell once said in a linmerick(pp): "If Progress means 'Go Forward', then what does Congress mean?" I rest my case...

    December 30, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  24. Celisti

    end subsides to everything! just let market work its way.

    btw, drinking milk is not good for you anyway.

    December 31, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  25. foodwatcher

    Regarding "socialized farming," the portion of the Farm Bill that goes to family farm producers is less than one-quarter-of one-percent of the budget. If one pays $100 is taxes, agriculture support would be 25cents.

    For 25 cents the public receives safe, stable abundant commodity supplies. A good deal by any standard, and agree that we have a production system that is by far the best in the world.

    Dairy has received attention the last few days, but over 80% of the Farm Bill budget is Food Stamps. Those are some valuable details that many folks do not know – mostly due to lazy journalism, and people who spread dis-information, like the Environ "mental" Working Group.

    December 31, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
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