Farm Bill Extension Welcomed by Farmers, but Still Looking for More


As part of the package passed Tuesday to avoid the fiscal cliff, the 2008 Farm Bill was extended until September of 2013, with one policy changing permanently.

The extension assures funding for farm research and nutrition programs as well as maintaining stability for many of America's farmers.

National Association of Wheat Growers President ErikYounggren said, "We are pleased that leaders in Washington came to someagreement on fiscal and tax policy, that includes an extension of farm policythrough the 2013 wheat growing season."

"It is of the utmost urgencyto our farmer members that the 113th Congress reauthorize a new farm billexpeditiously, that will last for another five years," he continued

American Soybean Association President Danny Murphy agrees.

"As we have been working with our colleagues on Capitol Hill for more than twoyears on a comprehensive, five-year bill, we are very disappointed thatCongress was not able to come together and pass a new bill in the bestinterests of farmers," said Murphy. "However, the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill allowsimportant foreign market development, disaster assistance, and farm safety netprograms to continue."

Also included in the fiscal package were changes in policy for estate tax and an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive.

The estate tax policy provides for a tax rate of 40 percent on estates valued at more than $5 million, or $10 million per couple. The changes made to the estate tax are permanent.

Murphy says the estate tax "is a much more viableframework for the land-based and capital-intensive nature of family farms likeours. This solution allows farmers to pass their operations from generation togeneration without the undue burden of an unrealistic estate tax structure."

Also in the fiscal package was the extension of the biodiesel tax incentive of one dollar which will run through 2013. Murphy says this extension is significant for the ASA. "More than half of allbiodiesel produced in the U.S. uses the oil from American-grown soybeans as afeedstock, which helps to grow our domestic fuel supply and creates soy meal asa byproduct, providing protein-rich animal feed for livestock, poultry andaquaculture."

Murphy also said, "While the extension is certainly preferable to the alternative of no bill atall, and prevents outdated permanent agricultural law enacted in the 1930s and1940s from going into effect, it is only a stopgap measure, which does notprovide the long-term certainty and stability that farmers need.

"Once theextension expires at the end of the fiscal year in September, we will be leftat the same impasse we've had since the House Agriculture Committee passed itsfarm bill in July unless our elected leaders can find a way to come back to thebargaining table with a renewed focus on what's important, not just for soybeanfarmers, but for all of agriculture and for the nation as a whole. It'simperative that our members of Congress in both chambers and in both partiesmove past party politics and get the job done this time."