Farm Bill Extension is Official

Congress has extended the 2002 Farm Bill until April 18.

The House and Senate did not make it by the March 15 deadline to complete the Farm Bill. However agricultural leadership in both chambers felt enough progress was being made to warrant an extension of current law until April 18 to give the conference committee a chance to finish a new farm bill. Both the Senate and House passed the extension.

Although lawmakers seem upbeat and feel that they are closing in on completing the long odyssey of a new farm bill, not everyone is happy with the extension.

"There has been more than enough time to finish a new farm bill," says National Farmers Union President Tom Buis. "The House passed a farm bill in July and the Senate in December. It's time for negotiators to get down to business and work out an agreement so a new farm bill can be signed into law."

Buis says farmers and ranchers have been patient, but the ground is thawing, and planting season can't be put on hold. He also cites nutrition, conservation, rural development and renewable fuels as issues that not enacting a farm bill will affect.

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