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The Farm Bill Outlook
by Susan Allen, click here for bio
Program: Open Range
Date: July 19, 12
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The lifeblood of agriculture is the Farm Bill but it’s future is still up in the air, especially when controversial items like food stamps are included. What do Food Stamps have to do with farming? I’m Susan Allen, Open Range will return after the break. Given where we are today in both the House and Senate it’s highly debatable whether the farm bill will be passed into law prior to the November elections. Both the Senate and House versions of the bill include a county revenue option that attempts to help balance crop insurance. According to a report in Drovers online “Both the House and Senate bill eliminated direct payment and retain marketing loans but where they differ is that the House bill includes a price-based counter-cyclical program meaning farmers can go back to 2008 to update yields through 2012 and payments would be based on planted acres not base acres.” One key reason why the Farm Bill could be delayed is the inclusion of the controversial Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program better known as Food Stamps. Republicans favor cutting $16 billion from Food Stamps while the Dems reject the cuts and because 1 in 7 people today receive assistance from food stamps this portion of the Farm Bill a hot potato that neither party wants to hold with the upcoming presidential elections. The other black cloud over farming is that estate tax laws stand to change dramatically if Congress fails to act meaning ranchers that want to pass on estates would see their tax rates rise to 55 % with only 1 million exemption compared to the current 35% rate and a $5.12 million exemption this year.
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