Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tribune: Region's Growers Stew Over Farm Bill Uncertainty

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Regional farmers continue to receive federal subsidies but they want an updated plan.
  • Regional farmers continue to receive federal subsidies but they want an updated five-year plan.

Regional farmers, who faced a New Year's Eve deadline for extending federal subsidies, say many of their concerns have not abated in spite of Congress' last-minute extension of the farm bill, which expired in October.

Instead of crafting a new five-year plan, Congress extended parts of the old bill, continuing federal support for crops until at least September.

But this morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that area grain producers and wheat growers aren't resting easy.

"We need a five-year bill, there's no way around that," Eric Mayer, president of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, told the Tribune. "I'm frustrated the House didn't get anything done."

Mayer called the stopgap fix a "big gray area."

"The worst scenario is, we get an extension and they say it's good until Sept. 30," he said. "But they write some five-year law (that would supersede the existing farm bill) we won't get direct payments and we'll get (other cuts that have not yet been determined). So it's a double whammy—we get whacked on both sides."

But Travis Jones of the Idaho Grain Producers Association told the Tribune that the region's growers continue to weather the political storm.

"Farmers are used to the ups and downs of Congress and farm policy," said Jones. "So even through all this fiscal cliff chaos, they've just plugged along."

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