Friday, November 18, 2011

No Super Committee Resolution and the Farm Bill

If the super committee fails to reach agreement, that kills the 2012 farm bill for this year.  Presumably the Ag committees and the ag lobbies will use the holidays to consider what they put together in a rush, and early next year we'll start to see legislation drafted.  In other words, we'll be back to the regular order of things.  The 64 dollar question is what sort of funding baseline they'll work with. Will they have the dollars they propose to the super committee, more or less?

The other question of importance is what will the farm economy be doing next spring and summer?  Recently corn and wheat prices have slid (see this Des Moines Register piece for corn.) Problem is that Ukraine and other grain producers have had good years.  (Back in the day, Ukraine used to be the breadbasket of Europe.  Just maybe modern farming methods and rational organization has finally arrived there so they can resume their place?)

I don't know enough to guess what will happen if prices have retreated significantly, but I would assume that it would change the bargaining and perhaps the framework of the programs in the farm bill.

As I've written, I now realize there's a window of opportunity for FSA/RMA to install MIDAS and ACRSI before being hit with the new farm bill.  But if the super committee fails, there may be an extended period of uncertainty over the future 2013 and on, meaning the bureaucrats have a compressed lead-time to get things in place. 

So if I'm an FSA bureaucrat do I pray for the success of the super committee, knowing it might well mean program changes which eviscerate much of the agency, or do I pray for failure, guessing it might make next fall torture?

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