The inside track from Washington, DC tells us that Speaker of the House John Boehner will not allow a five-year farm bill extension to be included in any potential “fiscal cliff” legislation coming between now and the end of the Congressional session.
The reason behind Speaker Boehner’s decision is unclear. On the surface what we do know to be the case is that Speaker Boehner’s calculated risk of not passing a farm bill appears to be less than working through the process to achieve one.
If farm bill negotiations proceed into 2013, any proposed legislation will be scored by the Congressional Budget Office using different scoring methods and higher prices reflecting lower crop yields resulting from the drought. The result is that the programs farmers need to protect them in rough years will look like they cost more when evaluated in 2013 than if evaluated now.
If you are reading this, it is likely that you are a farmer who used crop insurance this year when the drought caused significantly lower yields than expected. If you’d like to utilize similar crop insurance programs in the future, you really need to call your Congressman and demand a farm bill now.
Should the farm bill extend into 2013, cuts to crop insurance are exactly what Illinois farmers can expect.