LONDON, Ohio – With the current farm bill set to expire Sept. 30, farmers, who are already dealing with the effects of the worst drought in 50 years, want to know how soon a new bill could be passed and what it will mean for their bottom line, Ohio State University Extension economist Matt Roberts said.
But with the Republican-controlled House and Democrat-led Senate disagreeing on key farm bill provisions including the amount of cuts to the food stamp program and the shape of the farm program, it is unclear when a new bill will be passed and what that new bill will mean for farmers, he said.
That has left farmers reeling with the uncertainty of what the potential farm bill could mean for their farm future, Roberts said.
“The most defining moment of the past two or three years has been the drought of 2012, so how will that affect where the farm bill debate will go?” he said. “The farm bill is so important because it sets the rules of the game of how farmers operate.
“So any changes to that policy affect farmers in terms of their decisions on whether to expand, contract or grow new crops. The drought this year has caused a lot of losses across the farm sector, so understanding what the safety net is going forward is crucial to help farmers make production decisions for 2013 and beyond.”
Roberts will talk about the implications during “Drought and the Farm Bill: What 2012 Means for Farm Policy,” Sept. 18 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Tobin Building during the Farm Science Review near London, Ohio.
The panel discussion will feature Roberts; Ian Sheldon, the Andersons Professor of International Trade in Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; Carl Zulauf, an agricultural economics professor and a farm policy expert in the college; and Katharine Ferguson, the Rural Policy Director for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.
“The goal of the talk is to help farmers better understand what the forces are that are shaping the farm bill, what the farm bill may look like, and when we may actually see it pass,” Roberts said. “The fact is that we are still trying to pull our way out of the recession, with a lot of people receiving (food stamps), combined with the worst drought in 50 years and significant pressure from Washington to get spending under control and lower the deficit.
“So how will these forces get reconciled with the farm bill in the legislative process?
Farm Science Review is sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Pre-show tickets are $5 at all OSU Extension county offices. Tickets are also available at local agribusinesses. Tickets are $8 at the gate. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 18-19 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 20.