The House Rules Committee voted 9-3 on Wednesday to advance a bill that would extend provisions of the 2008 farm bill until the end of January.
Yes, my friends, it is official. The 2013 farm bill is dead. The 2014 farm bill is now the possible reality.
The Rules Committee vote means the House will debate and vote Thursday on HR 3695, the legislation to temporarily extend the 2008 farm bill.
Some key senators have said the Senate won't accept a one-month extension, but obviously the House is going to call their bluff. Either everyone gets an extension or USDA spends January trying to draft rules for permanent law to go into effect.
When asked Wednesday about his thoughts on the farm bill, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack used the analogy of being a guy still waiting for his wedding to start.
“I feel like a groom at the altar waiting for the bride to come down the aisle. Always hopeful, but I have yet to see her come down the aisle," Vilsack said.
While Washington is fixated with debates about base acres versus planted acres, farmers at the DTN/The Progressive Farmer Ag Summit raised other questions with me:
One, do farmers move base acres for cotton to other crops once the farm bill is passed? After all, cotton won't have a commodity program.
Two, given that the farm bill will go into January -- and likely at least February before a bill gets to the president -- would USDA have time to get the rules out for the Supplemental Coverage Option before farmers have to make their decisions for buying crop insurance in March? Or would SCO start in 2015?
Farmers had other questions that unfortunately about commodity programs that cannot be answered until Congress finally gets down to one bill.
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