Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, on Tuesday said Congress would seek an extension of one month on the 2002 Farm Bill, which is set to expire Sept. 30. The scheduled mark up of the bill has been postponed until the first week of October.
National Association of Wheat Growers President John Thaemert sent a letter to Chairman Harkin the same day asking the Senate to include provisions in the continuing resolution temporarily extending the USDA's authority to issue advance direct payments.
"This is particularly troublesome for wheat growers, who are planting their 2008 winter crops now with no certainty about the farm safety net for this crop," Thaemert says. "Similarly, a number of bankers who serve our grower-members have called our office to inquire about the safety net, and we have no answer to give them."
The letter served a dual purpose; to urge the committee to include advance payment authority in the farm bill extension and to remind the Senate Agriculture Committee of NAWG's long standing priority of seeing the continuation of the direct payment program in the next farm bill.