There’s no guarantee the new year will bring a new farm bill, according to one Ag senator, who complains the old bill should’ve been rewritten, not extended. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) complained last summer when there was no committee farm bill text, and later, correctly predicted a one-year extension.
Now Grassley’s raising another red flag; “With next year being an election year, it’s imperative that Congress get a five-year farm bill reauthorization done by early spring, because if it’s not done early in the year, being an election year, it might not be done again.”
Grassley’s glad House and Senate Ag leaders agreed on an extension to keep critical programs going during the new planting season. But Grassley laments the lack of improvements, especially to ARC and PLC support triggers or reference prices, and suggests his Iowa farmers probably feel the same.
Grassley said; “Sadly, because I think there’s justification for criticism coming from the 86-thousand family farmers in Iowa because we don’t have a farm bill, but we haven’t heard any criticism about that.”
Further complicating the path for a new farm bill next year is the election calendar. Grassley says, “After you start having these presidential caucuses and conventions in a presidential election year, Congress doesn’t put in…we just waste a lot of time because of conventions.”
Politically, an election year could also deepen the partisan divide over the key issues that prevented agreement this year—farm versus feeding programs and a GOP push to reduce the deficit.