Senate Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, says he wants to finish a new farm bill this year, but if unable to, he's willing to extend the 2002 Farm Bill.
The American Farm Bureau Federation also wants a farm bill completed by the end of the year, but they don't support a long-term extension of the 2002 Farm Bill. Farm Bureau's Director of Public Policy Mary Kay Thatcher says that is a bad idea.
"It will get much more difficult to do next year than it is this year from a budgetary perspective," Thatcher says. "As well as you're going to have lenders out there that are going to say, 'If some members are looking at cutting farm programs, I have to take that into account when I decide whether or not or how much I'm going to loan to a producer."
According to Thatcher, Farm Bureau supports an extension of farm programs until mid-November, but she says Committee action needs to start before the 10-day Columbus Day recess that begins Oct. 6., or there may not be a chance for a 2007 Farm Bill.
"We've got Thanksgiving coming up, we've got seven or eight approps bills left to do; it's going to make it awfully difficult to finish the farm bill this year," Thatcher says.
As a last resort, Thatcher says Farm Bureau would support the Senate adopting the House-passed farm bill, although the tax hike to fund that bill is vehemently opposed by the administration.