With votes on the government shutdown and debt ceiling over, focus in Congress has now turned in part to a new farm bill.
The one-year extension of the farm bill expired September 30th, after House and Senate lawmakers failed to agree on another measure. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says that’s created uncertainty for ag producers in Nebraska and throughout the region.
"Right now the agricultural sector in this part of the country, that would be in Nebraska, what we call the Mid-America Rural Mainstreet area, the agricultural prices are down right now, agricultural income is down, agricultural commodity prices are somewhat weaker, and this just adds to that economic uncertainty."
Jordan Dux is Director of National Affairs for the Nebraska Farm Bureau. He says when the extension expired, so did a livestock indemnity program that’s important to Nebraska producers.
"That was funded after the last farm bill, the funding ran out at the end of 2011, and the losses of livestock that we’ve seen out in the panhandle because of the blizzard in Nebraska and in South Dakota, those producers, at the time, could have received a payment based upon that."
Goss and Dux both say that a long-term farm bill addressing crop insurance and disaster protection programs is needed. Goss says he’d also like to see funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program separated from the farm bill.