RL34154 - Possible Expiration (or Extension) of the 2002 Farm Bill
23-Jul-2008; Jim Monke and Joe Richardson; 19 p.
Update: Previous releases:
January 29, 2008
Abstract: The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-171, the 2002 farm bill) authorizes an array of farm commodity support, conservation, and nutrition programs. Many provisions of the 2002 farm bill were scheduled to expire in 2007. However, the farm commodity support provisions expire with the 2007 crop. Hence, participating farmers continue to receive payments on their 2007 crop beyond the end of fiscal or calendar year 2007. If a new farm bill is not enacted in time for the 2008 harvest, permanent law will take effect. Under permanent law, eligible commodities would be supported at levels much higher than they are now, but many of the currently supported commodities would not be eligible (including soybeans and peanuts). Permanent law is so radically different from current policy and inconsistent with today’s farming, marketing, and trade practices, as well as costly to the federal government, that Congress is unlikely to let it take effect.
For most of the other farm bill programs that were in effect on September 30, 2007, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-161) extended their authority until March 15, 2008. The duration of the extension is expected to be sufficient for conference negotiations to resolve differences between the House- and Senate-passed farm bills (H.R. 2419). The dairy, sugar, and wool and mohair programs also are extended until March 15.
Programs that are not extended include the direct, counter-cyclical, and marketing loan programs for the 2008 crop year for all other commodities, peanut storage payments, community food projects authorized under the Food Stamp Act, the rural broadband program, value-added market development grants, federal procurement of biobased products, the biodiesel fuel education program, and the renewable energy systems program.
Most of the long-standing USDA conservation programs are permanently authorized and received an appropriation for FY2008 in P.L. 110-161. Other conservation programs that pay farmers to remove fragile cropland from production are authorized and received mandatory funding from the 2002 farm bill. Many of these programs expired on September 30, 2007, but were extended until March 15, 2008, by P.L. 110-161. Three conservation programs are funded at specific levels through March 15, 2008 — the Farmland Protection Program, the Ground and Surface Water Conservation Program, and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. Two conservation programs that pay farmers for adopting resource stewardship practices (the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Security Program) were extended beyond FY2007 by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-171).
The domestic food and nutrition programs administered by the USDA are
permanently authorized and their funding would not be affected by the possible
expiration of the 2002 farm bill — since these programs received an appropriation
for FY2008 in P.L. 110-161. They include, for example, food stamps, child nutrition
programs, and the WIC program. [read report]