Senate Ag chairman Pat Roberts (Rep – Kansas) said Monday that Congress won’t pass a new farm bill, H.R. 2 , before the current one expires Sept. 30.
The last time this happened, in 2012, Congress passed short term extensions to keep farm bill programs running. This time, an extension of current law isn’t being considered yet. Both Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow have suggested an extension may not be necessary until the end of 2018 because much of the existing policies would not revert to decades-old law until the start of 2019.
Failure to pass a farm bill might have immediate impact on a number of small programs such as the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program, which helps fruit, vegetable and nut producers pay for projects aimed at overcoming barriers to their products in foreign markets.
MWFPA is working with the American Fruit & Vegetable Processor & Grower Coalition to ensure that its “all forms” fruit and vegetable language is a part of any final farm bill.
With a new Congress scheduled to meet on January 3rd, if a farm bill isn’t passed by then, both the House and Senate would need to reintroduce the legislation and take another vote. This would, in essence, start the farm bill process all over again.