Today’s Topic: The farm bill extension

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoLegislation passed by Congress to avoid the “fiscal cliff” also included an extension of the farm bill. Commissioner Troxler tells Rhonda that the one good thing about the extension is that it gives farmers some direction and policy as they plan their growing season.

While people in agriculture would have preferred a five-year farm bill, that just wasn’t in the cards. Commissioner Troxler says it’s odd that no action was taken on a new farm bill, considering that both the Senate’s and House Agriculture Committee’s proposals included billions in projected savings. The extension doesn’t achieve those savings, even though 37 programs without baseline funding won’t receive money.

The fiscal cliff legislation also was of interest to farmers because it prevented the exemption on the estate tax from changing. The legislation kept the exemption at $5 million. If the country had gone over the cliff, the exemption would have dropped to $1 million, and that could have hurt agriculture. A reduction in the threshold for estate taxes most likely would have prompted farmers to sell off land. North Carolina, which has lost more than 6.6 million acres of farmland since 1970, can’t afford to lose more, Troxler says.

Click below to listen to the Commissioner and Rhonda talk about the continued murky future of the farm bill.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.

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