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Elaine K.  
January 2, 2013 2:19pm
More about the Fiscal Cliff from the Center for Rural Affairs

An extension of the previous Farm Bill was attached to the complex fiscal cliff bill that passed New Years Day. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Vice President Joe Biden negotiated a nine-month extension of the Farm Bill.

“The farm bill extension measure attached to the fiscal cliff legislation passed by the House of Representatives late last night slashes investment in the future of small rural communities and family farming and ranching,” said Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Nebraska.

Many smaller, targeted programs that invest in proven strategies to create rural jobs, revitalize rural communities and initiatives to foster a new generation of family farmers and ranchers were completely left out of the final farm bill extension. The eleventh hour deal also prevents farmers and ranchers from being able to improve soil and water conservation through enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program in 2013.

“We applaud the efforts of Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and House Agriculture Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) who negotiated an agreement last weekend to address these crucial shortcomings,” explained Hassebrook. “But, regrettably their efforts were set aside in final negotiations over the fiscal cliff bill.”

“The message is clear - despite high market prices, virtually unlimited commodity and crop insurance premium subsidies to mega farms remain uncapped, but beginning farmers and rural communities are left twisting in the wind,” concluded Hassebrook. “And conservation of our precious land and water gets put on hold.”
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