Contentious farm bill debate expected

Many farm policy experts are predicting a highly contentious debate on the 2012 Farm Bill.

University of Nebraska extension policy specialist Brad Lubben is among them.

“We’re going to restart the process and it’s going to be pretty contentious,” Lubben says, “not just from the non-ag interests in Congress, but even the ag interests in Congress that didn’t really have a voice in the closed-door negotiations last fall.

“It will test that old coalition that always came together to support a farm bill.”

And when you add federal budget woes and election year politics to the mix, Lubben doubts the farm bill will be approved before the November elections.

“So we start pushing it off towards a lame duck session of Congress after the election—maybe just in time to get a 2013 bill in place,” he says.

AUDIO: Brad Lubben (7:40 MP3)

North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad said this week that the current Farm Bill may possibly have to be extended for at least one year, with the development of new legislation put off until 2013. 

Conrad warned, however, that the fiscal and political climate might only be worse in 2013.

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