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We can’t deny that 2013 has gotten off to a rocky start, legislatively speaking. The fiscal cliff package passed by Congress earlier this month left much to be desired for the cattle industry, especially when it came to a five-year farm bill. The fiscal cliff package extends the 2008 Farm Bill until Sept. 30, 2013, and authorizes limited disaster assistance for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Funding for these programs is subject to receiving the money from appropriations committees.

However, realizing the importance of getting the ball rolling on agriculture policy, the Senate re-introduced its version of the bill (S. 10), which was passed last June with heavy bi-partisan support. This re-introduced legislation will serve as a placeholder for whatever language comes out of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. This version of the bill incorporates the priorities which NCBA and our membership fought hard for last year. There is not a livestock title, the conservation programs are maintained and the research title is sustained.