Ag Policy Blog

Some Farm Bill Extension Details Emerge

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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More details came out today regarding some specific provisions in the farm-bill extension language that was part of the tax bill approved earlier this week by Congress. The bill extends most farm programs through Sept. 30, 2013, giving lawmakers nine months to get a new bill moved.

FYI, and I want to credit Chuck Abbott at Reuters for digging out this gem: No farm bill has ever started during one term of Congress and had to be reintroduced in a subsequent term of Congress to be completed.

Much of the challenge from the extension comes from a problem highlighted in the 2008 farm bill. There were 37 programs in that legislation that didn't have a "budget baseline" to carry forward after Sept. 30, 2012.


The legislation extends current commodity programs for the 2013 crop year, including direct payments. The provisions postpone any issues with milk or other commodities falling under the 1949 permanent law.


Disaster programs were authorized in the bill, but not with any mandatory funding. The one exception is the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, or SURE, which was not reauthorized. Instead, discretionary levels were set with funding for certain programs that could come through the appropriations process. Those programs include:

$80 million for livestock indemnity payments

$400 million for the livestock forage assistance program

$50 million for emergency assistance for livestock, honeybees and fish farmers.

$20 million for the tree assistance program


Conservation Reserve Program is maintained at the same level of 32 million acres. Programs such as the Grassland Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program are not reauthorized.


A laundry list of energy programs were extended without mandatory funding, meaning any funding for these programs would have to come through the appropriations process. The Biomass Crop Assistance program is authorized for $20 million in discretionary spending for 2013. Most of the other programs are reauthorized at previous spending levels.

Research, horticulture and beginning farmer and rancher programs also were authorized with discretionary funding:

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program was authorized for $30 million in 2013

Organic Ag Research and Extension, $25 million

Specialty Crop Research Initiative, $100 million

Farmers Market Promotion Program, $10 million

National Organic Certification Cost-Share, $22 million

Outreach and Technical Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, $20 million

Some terminated programs include:

Local and regional food-aid procurement

The McGovern-Dole International Food program

Market loss assistance for asparagus producers

Value-added market development grants

In other tax credits important to people in agriculture, the legislation extended:

The Production Tax Credit for wind for projects starting in 2013

Cellulosic Biofuel Producer Tax Credit

Biodiesel Tax Credit

Also, bonus depreciation was set at 50% for property put into service in 2013.

Section 179: The deduction for both 2012 and 2013 was set at $500,000, with phaseout beginning when investments reach $2 million.

(Thank you to the National Farmers Union for producing a primer detailing the farm-bill programs and tax provisions in the legislation. The details were more timely and far better than what I have received from official Congressional sources at the moment)

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Ric Ohge
1/11/2013 | 10:07 AM CST
Thanks, Bonnie...I doubt we'll ever see eye to eye on everything[Icicles in Perdition?], but I always see clear thinking and good humor in whatever you say, and when comes down to the real important stuff, I think we both SEE it, believe it and stand up for it. [Maybe we should write a point-counterpoint type of Column would be fractious, snarky, fact-filled, fun-filled and NEVER boring. Send me your thoughts. R Andrew Ohge
Ric Ohge
1/11/2013 | 10:03 AM CST
I'll take that one step further, Phillip. We know, as it's often repeated, the old Reagan sound-bite about "Trickle Down" Economics. [Klaxon Sounds] Wrong. A healthy American Farmscape begins a flow of Revenue/Resource up and out. The more sources for same, the better. It's safe to say every other enterprise on the planet ultimately has it's roots in the Farm. Farmers must ALWAYS prosper, and the more-the merrier. The shrinkage of numbers and types of Farms in the advent of the Industrial Model has slowed that important flow down precipitously. Where does the "Big Boys" of Wall Street, The Military Industrial Complex, Big Industry and Banking think the money comes from. It doesn't grow on trees-right? [Klaxon Sounds] Wrong, again! IT grows on trees, stalks, bushes and from furrows, where it converges with that created out of ores, metals and fuel, etc. etc. We got lost in the Petro Dollar folks, but the Economy of the new Century is becoming and needs to be Resource based, the base and Primary Source being-yep, you guessed it. FARMING. When you see China "prepping" and hear Evelyn de Rothschild go Medieval on the antics of Wall Street and the Banksters, you have to know things are due for some shaking. It's time the Farmers once again become the "Movers and Shakers". They started this "American Experiment", it's time for them to bring it all home.
Bonnie Dukowitz
1/11/2013 | 9:51 AM CST
Good one Ric
Phillip Stewart
1/7/2013 | 10:36 AM CST
If congress does not provide a safety net for farmers and ranchers then our food prices will rise drastically. Farming and ranching is probably the highest risk business you can be involved in. You are dependent on mother nature and no one can predict long term what she is going to do. I for one do not have a problem of congress providing risk protection for our farmers and ranchers because I don't want to see our food prices rise like they have in other parts of the world.
Ric Ohge
1/4/2013 | 9:27 AM CST
I actually prefer "Goat Hugging" and "Tree Kissing"'s MUCH less messy.
Bonnie Dukowitz
1/3/2013 | 12:36 PM CST
I wonder if this Food Bill extension is actually a symptom of the EWG, PCA, EPA, HSUS or the failure of communication within the food production industry. There are a lot more tree huggers and goat kissers than there are food producers.
Lon Truly
1/2/2013 | 7:28 PM CST
Congress needs to be prohibited from engaging in the selective agricultural investment and profit guaranteeing business. Their sorry record of targeting select farmers with highly discriminatory multimillion dollar investment/profit guaranteeing policies has destroyed countless rural communities by neutering the ability of smaller farmers to compete. To guarantee that the largest and obviously potentially most profitable business always will have a vastly superior incomes renders the smaller farmers incapable of competing in this highly competitive business. If congress is going to be involved in the safety net business all farmers are equally deserving of comparably valued safety nets.
bob corio
1/2/2013 | 5:23 PM CST
What about EQIP and CSP conservation programs?