You've reached the Virginia Cooperative Extension Newsletter Archive. These files cover more than ten years of newsletters posted on our old website (through April/May 2009), and are provided for historical purposes only. As such, they may contain out-of-date references and broken links.

To see our latest newsletters and current information, visit our website at

Newsletter Archive index:

Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Farm Bill 200_ Update

Farm Business Management Update, April 2008 - May 2008

Jim Pease (, Extension Economist, Farm Management, Agricultural & Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

I left the year of the new Farm Bill blank, because during this strangest of all Farm Bill dramas, we can’t be sure what year will be used, nor even what year the next Farm Bill will be signed. As of this newsletter date, no clear resolution is in sight.

Let’s review what has happened so far in Farm Bill 2007 development:

The latest offerings involve a proposal by the Democratic Chairs of the Senate Finance and House Agriculture committees for cuts in research ($1.25 billion), the House-proposed Average Crop Revenue Program ($0.4 billion), and crop insurance ($3 billon), while food and nutrition programs would be increased by $10 billion. It is unclear whether such a proposal would be acceptable either to the White House or to Congressional Republicans.

There are three major options that could occur between now and the April 18 deadline: passage of a new 2008-2017 bill, an extension of the 2002 Farm Bill to 2017, and a one – or two-year extension of the 2002 program. At this point, anything could happen, but I think the odds would lean towards a short term extension, making future legislation the problem of the next Congress and next President. Other observers have suggested that an agreement on a new Farm Bill is closer than it looks. Watch carefully for the House naming its representatives, because anew bill will then be only a week away.

If you’re frustrated reading about this, you’re not alone. One agricultural policy specialist remarked recently, “that this has certainly been a unique farm bill process, starting with the absence of proposed bills in 2006, the lack of any clear objectives in 2007, the bills proffered by non-agriculture committees, the reluctance of the agriculture committees to work with the White House (and their own committee members) during bill development, the absence of a conference committee, and now the casting aside of major elements of the bills in order to reach some kind of agreement. If there is an agreement and a new Farm Bill this year, we can be virtually sure that it will not move in the direction of prudent agricultural policy.”


Visit Virginia Cooperative Extension