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Rural America Left 'Out in the Cold'

03 January 2013
National Farmers Union

US - National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson has responded to the US House of Representatives, following the passing of HR 8, the Tax Relief Extension Act, commonly referred to as the “fiscal cliff” bill, which included a farm bill extension. Mr Johnson says that once again, Congress has left rural America out in the cold.

Mr Johnson said: "National Farmers Union, echoing the voices of most family farmers and ranchers across the country, is deeply disappointed in the dysfunction of Congress. The members’ inaction leaves significant uncertainty for farmers and ranchers trying to plan for the 2013 planting season without knowing the coming year’s policies.

"Congress has failed to deal with many important issues in the last year and session. America’s farmers and ranchers have spoken time and time again - we want a new five-year farm bill in 2012. Clearly, House leaders have not been listening.

"NFU has worked diligently with members of Congress to assist in getting a five-year bill to the president’s desk, and will continue to push for the most reasonable process to complete a five-year bill in the most expeditious time possible.

"The failure to pass a five-year farm bill leaves a lot of programs in peril and farmers with great uncertainty. Key programs have already expired with the last farm bill on 30 September. They include renewable energy and conservation programs, livestock disaster assistance, beginning farmer and rancher programs, and much of the farm safety net, including dairy programs. We must find a way to deal with these important programs as a part of any effort to move toward a full five-year farm bill.

"If Congress must reluctantly pass an extension, they should do so by fully extending all 2008 programs, such as the disaster, energy and beginning farmers and ranchers programs."

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