This week the House of Representatives will consider an one-year extension of the farm bill to address the 2008 bill's authorizations that will expire on Sept. 30, 1012. Historically, the farm bill is an important piece of legislation for farmers and ranchers, but with multiple regions of the country suffering from severe heat and drought this summer, the drought relief and crop insurance provisions are especially critical this year. On Saturday, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins visited three farms in Franklin, Shawnee, and Osage counties to examine drought damage and losses and discuss conditions with local agriculture producers, including such organizations as the Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Corn Growers and Kansas Livestock Association.
"The drought conditions gripping Kansas and most of the nation only affirm the need for a long-term authorization of the Farm Bill. In my district alone, there are 20,000 farmers and ranchers that need certainty and stability to move forward. Many producers are already looking to next year to decide whether to plant corn, soybeans or wheat. Historically, the farm bill has allowed producers a five-year window to adequately plan for the future.
"Extensions of a prior farm bill are not common. Since 1973, only the 2008 farm bill timeline required an extension. It is disappointing that the agriculture industry is being placed in a position of uncertainty. I am concerned that the one-year extension of farm and nutrition programs that the House is considering this week merely delays the reform that is needed, but I also believe that this extension is better than nothing.
"We need a farm bill, but without a more long-term reauthorization soon, it will be more difficult for producers to continue to provide an abundant, affordable and safe food supply during these tough economic times."