The U.S. House of Representatives appears to be getting ready to head home for its summer recess without passing a new farm bill to replace the 2008-2012 version that is expiring this year.
They will come home to crop farmers whose crops are withering in a widespread drought, and livestock farmers scrambling to buy suddenly high-priced feed, losing money on each head they send to market. They will be in need of the kind of safety net the Farm Bill usually provides.
But Congress is stymied - again. The Senate passed its version of the farm bill back in June, but the House is wrangling over things like how much money is being cut from the food stamp program, and protecting the subsidies that too often go to wealthy farmers. A proposal to extend the current farm bill for a year - Congress' latest favorite response to tough decisions is to put them off another year - may not make it to the House. Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson (Dem.-7th District), the ranking member on the House Ag Committee said he wouldn't support it without a guarantee of real progress on a full farm bill.
Congress should not leave farmers hanging, wondering if the government policies will suddenly revert to 1940s, while their crops are withering away.