Where Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner told members of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation that President Bush would announce today that while he will sign the 30-day extension of the Farm Bill about to be presented to him from Congress, if the 2007 Farm Bill is not finished by April 18th, he would push for at least a one-year extension of the 2002 Farm Bill. Time is running out, or has already run out in some cases according to Conner, pointing out that wheat is already being harvested in some areas of the country, and that other parts will soon be planting a crop for which they currently have no safety net.
The concept of extending the Farm Bill at least one year was one mentioned yesterday during a briefing to the OFBF delegation from House Republican Leader John Boehner. His comments seemed to be in line with frustrations shared by House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson at the same briefing. Senate Ag Committee Member Sherrod Brown espoused some optimism that the 2007 Farm Bill would in fact be completed during this latest extension.
The Congress will recess at weeks’ end for Easter, not to return for two weeks, leaving, as Conner pointed out today, 11 legislative days to complete the Farm Bill or extend it yet again.