A shutdown of the U.S. government has also meant a shutdown of some vital services provided by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. As we mentioned in an earlier post, not the least of the USDA programs coming to a halt are the ones dealing with conservation issues, and that is mostly due to the fact that when the government shut down on Oct. 1, the extension of the farm bill did as well.
The fact that the 2008 Farm Bill extension expired and the new farm bill still is to even make it to committee, resulting in the stopping of important conservation measures, worries farmers like American Soybean Association President Danny Murphy, a soybean, corn and wheat farmer from Canton, Miss.
“There’ll be no more CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) sign-up, no Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) money, no conservation payment or activities of any kind,” he cites as just some of the concerns of farmers. Plus, there will be the expiration of market development funds, something he says are particularly important to soybean farmers.
“Soybeans are the nation’s most valuable agricultural export. Our overseas market development arms, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), work with foreign buyers and carry out trade servicing and demand building activities,” Murphy says.
He concludes saying that the shortsightedness of Congress in failing to pass a new farm bill is more than just a political embarrassment; it will cost the industry global market share almost immediately.
“It’s time for our elected officials to remember who they represent and get to work passing a farm bill that works for American farmers.”