July 30, 2012
Contact:  Sandy Courtnage

Farm Bill Stalling – a Disaster in the Making

GREAT FALLS, MT (July 30, 2012) – Montana Farmers Union President Alan Merrill made the following statement today concerning the U.S. House of Representatives proposing to extend the 2008 Farm Bill for one year.

“Montana right now is facing two kinds of disasters:  the drought that is changing our physical landscape, and the unwillingness of Congressional leadership in the House to act responsibly and immediately on Farm Bill legislation.

“The proposed one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill is a ploy that won’t be helpful to Montana agriculture.  The one-year extension will cut the conservation title, cuts mandatory funding from beginning farmer and rancher programs, renewable energy efforts, and direct-to-consumer marketing programs.  All in all, a total of 37 programs will go unfunded.

“We agree with National Farmers Union’s (NFU) position of only supporting an extension if the next step is to conference a comprehensive five-year farm bill before the September 30 expiration date.

“Montana’s farmers and ranchers deserve some assistance and certainty during this critical time.  Permanent disaster programs should be approved retroactively to cover losses incurred in 2012.

“While the U.S. House has only 12 working days from now until the end of September, with sufficient political will there is time to pass a Farm Bill before it expires.  We call on a bipartisan effort to do so.”