Political Gridlock Over Farm Bill Delays Planting, Financing Major Crops

January 10, 2014

Congress is back in session in Washington and one of the top items on the ‘to-do list,’ is the Farm Bill.  The last Farm Bill expired in September, after being in place for five years and although both the House and Senate have passed new bills, they have yet to be reconciled. 

Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers says the uncertainty of the Crop Insurance program is one of the biggest challenges.  He says the planting and financing of major crops, like cotton, are being delayed by political gridlock.

"As we look at the world price and we look at worst-case scenario, if China starts dumping cotton on the market, is there going to be any kind of a safety net to help keep that industry in business? If we don't know what that is, chances are acres are going to drastically reduce," Rogers said.

Rogers believes Congress is very close to a compromise agreement but that the Farm Bill needs to be wrapped up within a couple weeks to avoid economic disruption.  Agriculture contributes about $12 billion a year to the Arizona economy.