Date of this Version
Cornhusker Economics (February 2012)
The debate over the next farm bill fired up in late 2011 when it looked like a closed-door-negotiated agreement could become part of a grand budget-cutting plan put together by the so-called “Super Committee.” But then, the Super Committee failed to reach an agreement on how to cut the federal budget deficit and the whole farm bill package failed to advance as well.
Now, the work has restarted on the farm bill in 2012, with even greater challenges. Questions remain about how big the spending cuts will be, what direction the farm programs will go, and even what the political climate and timeline will be for a new farm bill to emerge from Congress. The process has begun, with Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow initiating a set of farm bill hearings that began at the end of February. But the direction remains a major question.