On the last day, at virtually the last hour, the House and Senate Ag Committees have pushed for farm legislation. The most likely prospect now is an extension of the current farm legislation that has been in effect for the past five years. This would avert the change back to the permanent 1949 act that might raise milk prices sharply.
The livestock disaster provisions of the bill expired in 2011, which is why the house passed a new disaster bill this fall. Information from the House Chairman, Frank Lucas and Senate Chair Debbie Stabenow, is that they will attempt to fund and extend the disaster provisions for 2012 and 2013.
Two other options were also introduced by Chairman Lucas: one is a simple one-month extension of current farm policy, which would expire practically before the Committees will be able to meet to deal with new legislation in 2013.
The other option is to address only the “dairy cliff” by suspending permanent law in regards to dairy policy. House Ag Committee Ranking Member Colin Peterson called a 30-day extension a “poor joke” on America’s farmers, who would receive essentially no financial certainty from such a move.