CONGRESS PASSES 10-ACRE BILL
WASHINGTON, D. C. -- The House and Senate both passed by unanimous consent Monday a compromise bill that eliminates the 10-acre prohibition of the 2008 farm bill for 2008 only.
The Senate objected to provisions in the House-passed bill that would pay for the program by cutting $20 million in computer outlays for the Risk Management Agency (RMA). By eliminating the 10-acre provision for 2008 only, the bill costs $9 million with offsets of $6 million from RMA computer funds and $3 million saved from technical corrections to the supplemental disaster bill.
It is important to note that when sign-up begins on Nov. 1 for 2009 winter wheat, the 10-acre provision once again will apply. The American Farm Bureau Federation hopes that some farmers will reconstitute before the 2009 sign-up so they will no longer be impacted by the 10-acre provision.
Also, AFBF will urge the next administration to take a different approach to implementing the 10-acre provision with more emphasis on congressional intent.
AFBF is pleased with the bill's passage, with state Farm Bureaus across the country weighing in with their lawmakers over the past month to ensure passage. The legislation will allow farmers to go back to their Farm Service Agency offices through mid-November to sign up for 2008 payments that were previously denied on almost 460,000 farms. Farm Bureau will encourage the new administration to implement this provision differently in 2009, and if implementation remains the same next year, work will begin on a longer-term fix.
The legislation also included several fixes to the supplemental disaster program, including an exception for the crop insurance purchase requirement for program eligibility. With the passage of this new legislation, if a portion of a farm is not of economic significance, then the risk management provision is waived.