The 2012 Farm Bill has become entwined with the debate over federal budget priorities at a time of large fiscal deficits, a debate commonly called the fiscal cliff (see yesterday’s farmdoc Daily post here). The 2012 Farm Bill process most closely resembles the 1991 farm bill process, which also became entwined in a debate over budget priorities and deficits. This article briefly examines the current status of the 2012 Farm Bill process and offers a peek at future farm safety net issues.

Current Status

In June 2012, the U.S. Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012. In July 2012, the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture passed the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act. The full House has not taken up this bill. Potential next steps in the 2012 farm bill process include passage of a House-Senate compromise farm bill, either as a separate bill or as part of a larger package to address the fiscal cliff, or a short-term extension of all or part of the current farm bill. An extension probably will not exceed a year, and could be less.