The National Corn Growers Association has joined with other agricultural organizations on the following joint statement on the expiration yesterday of the 2008 farm bill:

 “The 2008 law governing many of our nation’s farm policies expired on Sunday, Sept. 30, and the 2012 farm bill needed to replace it is bottled up in Congress.

“While the Senate and House Agriculture Committees were both able to pass their versions of the new farm bill, the full House was unable to do so.

“While expiration of farm bill program authorities has little or no effect on some important programs, it has terminated a number of important programs and will very adversely affect many farmers and ranchers, as well as ongoing market development and conservation efforts.  

“Following is a summary of these impacts:

Programs affected by expiration of the 2008 farm bill

“Dairy producers will face considerable challenges. The Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program expired on Sunday. That program compensated dairy producers when domestic milk prices fall below a specified level.

“Without a new farm bill, dairy farmers are left with uncertainty and inadequate assistance.

“While milk prices are high enough that the price support program doesn’t kick in; unfortunately, there is no other safety net to help battle the highest feed costs on record.

“Many farmers, ranchers and agribusiness or agricultural processors benefit from the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD). FMD is a cost-sharing trade promotion partnership between USDA and U.S. agricultural producers and processors. The program pools technical and financial resources to conduct overseas market development.  

“FMD helps maintain and increase market share by addressing long-term foreign market import constraints and by identifying new markets or new uses for the agricultural commodity or product in the foreign market.

“That funding, as well as specific funding for personnel to run the program at USDA, will run out at the end of October.  

“Since 31 percent of our gross farm income comes from exports which also make a positive contribution to our Nation’s trade balance, trade promotion is an important part of our safety net.  

“Other countries will most certainly take advantage of the fact the program is rendered inoperable and will do what they can to steal our markets — and everyone knows, the hardest market to get is the one you lost.

“About 6.5 million acres rotate out of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) this year. While current contracts are protected, no new signup will be allowed for CRP or the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).  

“Both of these programs are voluntary land retirement programs that help agricultural producers protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat, and safeguard ground and surface water. In addition, there cannot be sign up for the Wetlands Reserve Program or the Grasslands Reserve Program.

“Both versions of the new farm bill contain funding for the disasters facing the livestock industry due to the drought. However, programs are currently only available for lack of forage, as well as death of animals.

“Most producers of fruits and vegetables do not have a safety net, but instead receive funding to augment the competitiveness of specialty crops through programs that enhance trade, promote cutting-edge research, and implement on-the-ground projects to protect crops from disease and invasive species. Funding for these programs ended when the farm bill expired.

“Numerous other programs, including energy, agricultural research, rural development and funding for new and beginning farmers could be added to this list of affected programs.