Farm Bureau Says Implement Farm Bill

In testimony  before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said it was a long, hard road to passage of the 2008 farm bill, and it is now time for implementation.   Stallman outlined major components of the farm bill that need quick action, including disaster assistance, payment eligibility and the collaboration between the Internal Revenue Service and the Agriculture Department.   “Many farmers faced major disasters in 2008,” Stallman said. “Disaster assistance rules need to be released so that farmers who have had their operations devastated can receive help.”   According to AFBF, a year after the passage of the farm bill, there are no rules for the disaster program, let alone a target date for when producers will receive assistance. AFBF is urging USDA to implement the program as quickly as possible.   Stallman also said that the payment eligibility rule put forward in late December 2008 needs to be fixed by 2010.   “The late date left the incoming Obama administration with very little time or opportunity for change before the rule would have to be implemented,” said Stallman. “While USDA is clearly now making progress on these rules, the delays have left a great deal of uncertainty in the countryside during this planting season.”