Mary Kay Thatcher, the Senior Director of Congressional Relations at the American Farm Bureau Federation, was a guest on yesterday’s AgriTalk radio program with Mike Adams where the conversation focused on the Farm Bill.
An audio replay of that discussion is available here:
Also, an unofficial FarmPolicy.com transcript of yesterday’s AgriTalk conversation is available here (pdf).
In part, Ms. Thatcher pointed out that, “And keep in mind, again, you know, we’ve got about 78% of the farm bill that is made up of food stamps. Well, the food stamp program doesn’t expire September 30th. They have no reason, in the nutrition community – the WIC program doesn’t expire. There’s a couple of smaller programs that do. But in essence, the nutrition community is not near as anxious to have to get this bill done as we are because if an extension simply comes along, well, then they’re not going to have to take either a four or a $16 billion cut.
“The same is true, largely, in the conservation community. Now, if you have a contract in the CRP now, it would continue to be paid, but no new contracts would be allowed in. On the other hand, most of the rest of the conservation programs are funded through 2014, so we don’t have the conservation community that’s sweating like we are, either. We have a very small portion of the people interested in the farm bill who are really concerned about the September 30th deadline, and farmers make up the vast majority of that.”
Ms. Thatcher also pointed out that, “But I think the biggest concern out there will, indeed, be the dairy program, because dairy will expire December 31st.”