The failure of Congress to pass a farm bill and the subsequent federal government shutdown has caused the return of permanent farm law.
Once the farm bill expired on Sept. 30, regulations revert back to the 1949 law while the shutdown itself has stopped daily agriculture market reports. Farmers are now unsure how to proceed with selling their crops.
The Mankato Free Press, reports the legal mechanism was originally intended as a threat measure to force Congress into passing new farm bills. Now, Congress will have until Christmas to pass a new farm bill to prevent the financial impacts on consumers and farmers from the 1949 bill, which will start Jan. 1, 2014.
According to a Star Tribune report this week, if Congress doesn't act to cut a deal on the farm bill, some economists predict consumers will notice it when they buy milk, butter, cheese and ice cream. Experts expect prices on the dairy products to skyrocket. That's because under 1949 law, the support prices for dairy are more than double recent market prices.
The bill was written in 2008 and was extended last year until Sept. 30.
With no assurances in place on the farm bill, and no guarantees that a bill, even a stop-gap measure will be completed prior to Jan. 1, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said the only alternative for farmers is to farm like its 1949.