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Karl Guenther Column: The other cliff: Current farm bill will expire New Year's Day


Like a lot of things about the New Year, new fuel, or renewable whatever is somewhat short of a sure thing. Much depends on what happens in Washington fairly quickly. Considering that not much has happened in Washington for - - Well, you fill in the time blank.  As I sat down to develop this comment, the year 2012 was not quite gone.  Legislators were back in Washington, striving mightily to keep us all safe from the ravaging financial effects of that tumble over the fiscal cliff.  The legislators themselves collectively created that potential disaster so that they would, collectively, be forced into making some responsible fiscal decisions.

Of course, adopting a budget, thus building a diverter to steer us away from the cliff is just one major thing that was a skeleton with no flesh as the year-end fiscal chill sent shivers through retirement communities and individuals, as well as those striving to devise some way of staying in business, maintaining a payroll, and so on.

Oh, yeah - - that reminds me.  Another one of those things that didn’t get done - - didn’t even get close, and is just waiting to shred the family kitchen budget, is the 2012 Farm Bill.  Even the specter of a glass of milk costing more than any one of several other beverages, doesn’t get more than an occasional mention in the national news.  If there’s no 2012 Farm Bill to start 2013, one of the things that happens is all those legislative certainties go back to the legislation adopted in, what?  1948!!  Holy Mackerel.  How can destruction of the Republican Party, or the deep-sixing of everything Obama, be that important?!!

The Advanced Biofuels USA organization says it supports the campaigns of 234 other organizations pressing for passage of a new farm bill.  Some of the fuels business’ interest in a farm bill is pretty obvious, but for the record, Joanne Ivancic makes the point that sections of the farm bill support research and development, crop testing and logistics trial crucial to the advancement of a transition to sustainable, renewable Bio-based energy.  Earlier, the letter advising of this campaign, contends “failure to pass a new five-year farm bill . . . . . will create significant budget uncertainty for the entire agricultural sector, including the rural businesses and lenders whose livelihoods are dependent upon producers’ economic viability.”

What a way to start a New Year!!  But, then - - there’s always 2014, right?

Whatever else goes on, or doesn’t - - the show will go on.  In this case we speak of the Keystone Farm Show, January 8,9, & 10, in York, Pennsylvania.  It’s fairly new, having started in 1998, targeting agrimarketers in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Karl Guenther is a retired farm broadcaster at WKZO and can be reached at khguenther@charter.net. He is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau and an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.