Twenty Senators have written leadership demanding any farm bill extension brought to the floor terminate direct payments.

In a letter sent to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), they said, “without regard to whether we supported the Senate farm bill or opposed it, we all agree that Congress should not consider another extension of the 2008 farm bill which continues direct payments.”

The House and Senate have passed separate versions of new legislation and both eliminate direct payments, with the exception of a House provision which provides cotton producers two years of transition payments based on 70 percent and 60 percent, respectively, of direct payments because delays in passing legislation may make it difficult for USDA’s Risk Management Agency to offer STAX to all growers for 2014 and possibly even 2015.

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However, because the 2008 farm law has begun to expire and a conference committee has yet to meet, there is inevitable discussion about another extension.

Every commodity group, including the National Cotton Council, has communicated strong support for enactment of a new, comprehensive farm bill and opposition to further extensions which make long-term planning impossible and open the possibility of retaliation by Brazil for failure to resolve the longstanding World Trade Organization complaint.

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