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Three farm bill extension measures filed in House

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., urged passage of a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill, but the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said today that House Republican leaders had filed three different versions of an extension, and that each is problematic.

Lucas said the one-year bill was a result of “discussions” with House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Senate “colleagues,” but he did not say specifically that the others were backing the bill.

“Clearly, it is no longer possible to enact a five-year farm bill in this Congress,” Lucas said in the statement.

“Given this reality, the responsible thing to do — and the course of action I have long encouraged if a five-year bill was not possible — is to extend the 2008 legislation for one year. This provides certainty to our producers and critical disaster assistance to those affected by record drought conditions.

“The legislation posted is the result of discussions with ranking member Peterson and my colleagues in the Senate. It is not perfect — no compromise ever is — but it is my sincere hope that it will pass the House and Senate and be signed by the president by January 1.”

Ferd Hoefner, head of the NSAC office in Washington, said in an email that the bills were filed late Saturday night.

“The House Republican leaders filed three different versions of measures to extend the 2008 farm bill, a one-year version and two one-month versions, with the one-year version including disaster assistance funding and a new dairy stabilization program, and the two short-term measures delaying the so-called ‘dairy cliff.’ ”

“All three draft bills are sorely lacking and should be significantly amended or defeated,” Hoefner said.

“All three fail to take the minimum steps required to allow USDA to run the Conservation Stewardship Program for 2013. All three fail to provide 2013 funding for beginning farmer, minority farmer, rural jobs, farmers markets, and specialty crop research programs,” he said.

“The one-year version does provide funding for renewable energy programs and some but not all organic agriculture programs, but as with the two one-month versions, leaves the other critical farm bill programs that lack 2013 funding high and dry. Leaving out the newer, innovative, job and opportunity-creating programs from a farm bill extension is unacceptable.

“No one who cares about new farmers, healthy food, or rural job creation should agree to the packages as drafted,” Hoefner said.

One-year farm bill extension



Temporary one-month farm bill extension



One-month dairy-only extension