Congress will face budget problems when they develop the 2012 Farm Bill, according to a sobering assessment by Craig Jagger, chief economist of the House Agriculture Committee.

According to Jagger, there are 38 programs in the current bill that will not be part of the budget baseline for the next bill. To renew these programs in the 2012 Farm Bill, Congress would need to take about $9 billion from other spending programs.

In addition, budget issues totaling about $4.5 billion were sidestepped in the 2008 Farm Bill by shifting the timing of payments for some programs, and Congress won’t be able to do that again, says Rich Pottorff, chief economist & Washington editor, Doane Agricultural Services.

Farm programs may face cuts even before the next Farm Bill is passed. There is talk about a budget reconciliation, where all committees are required to cut spending. The budget reconciliation of 2006 led to $2.7 billion in cuts to farm programs.

“The bottom line is that there will probably be less money for farm programs when the 2012 Farm Bill is written and some current programs will probably disappear,” says Pottorff.

Source: Doane’s Agricultural Report