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House Continuing Resolution- Sec 122; Delaying the Inevitable Harvest Disruption?

The U.S. House of Representatives has proposed in Section 122 of the Continuing Resolution an extension of the 2014 Farm Bill Pilot Program authority until September 30, 2021, the end of the federal government fiscal year.

SEC. 122. Section 7605(b) of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (7 U.S.C. 5940 note; Public Law 115–334) is amended by striking ‘‘the date that is 1 year after the date on which the Secretary establishes a plan under section 297C of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946’’ and inserting ‘‘September 30, 2021’’.

While the House Continuing Resolution proposal for an extension until September 30, 2021 is better than the current repeal date of October 31, 2020, this will disrupt the 2021 production season and harvest. The current October 31, 2020 deadline is already projected to create issues this harvest season. Agricultural production does not coincide with the fiscal calendar year ending in September. Providing an extension until next production/harvest season is not helpful for farmers, and just delays the disruption.

We at AgHS acknowledge that this move by the House does keep the conversation alive about the potential for an extension and gives the Senate the opportunity to get it right and provide for an extension of the 2014 Farm Bill Pilot Program Authority until January 1, 2022. We note that Oregon Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) were the first to make a formal request to USDA for an extension until 2022. They have since been joined by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO).

A full extension until January 1, 2022, will allow farmers an additional full year to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill, without disruption in the middle of production or harvest.

We note, it is also imperative that there is not any reference to the USDA final rules in making the extension. USDA may publish final rules as early as January 2021, which would make an extension of the 2014 Farm Bill authority with reference to the final rule publication futile.

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