Time is running out for a Farm Bill this year. The current Farm Bill expires on September 30 and there is no indication of what the immediate future has in store for farm policy. On Wednesday I joined concerned producers from Kansas and across the country at the Farm Bill Now! Rally in Washington D.C. to express the importance of getting a bill passed sooner rather than later.
The Farm Bill is currently stalled in the House after passing the Senate on June 21, 2012. Passing this legislation now rather than wanting until next year will give farmers and ranchers the security they need as we head into wheat planting this fall and a new crop year in January. It is not fair to expect farmers and ranchers to put seed in the soil when they don't know the rules of the game. Couple all of this uncertainty with the worst drought since 1956 and we have the perfect storm and the best example of why sound farm policy is vital for the food security of our nation.
Passing the new version of the Farm Bill will also save money. If we extend the current bill we are extending programs that are more expensive and not as effective. The 2012 Farm Bill ends direct payments and strengthens crop insurance, a vitality important tool for risk management. The bill also continues to make conservation a priority. Conservation work was put to the test this year during the expansive drought. There was a big difference between our present day drought and that of the 1930's -- there was no dust bowl -- a testament to the success of conservation practices.
It is imperative that Congress put the risk management tools and conservation programs in the Farm Bill back in to place, and give America's farmers and ranchers the long-term certainty they need to produce food, fiber and fuel for this country and the world. Farmers and Ranchers shouldn't have to keep guessing -- it is too important to their families, their industry, and consumers around the globe. Congress needs to get the message and live by the example of agriculture. It's time to get to work, finish what was started, and pass the Farm Bill now.