What Would Permanent Law Mean

If farm legislation reverts to 1949 law some big changes will affect agriculture.

Less than two weeks remain for Congress to enact a new Farm Bill. If a bill isn't passed or current legislation isn't extended by March 15, farm legislation from 1938 and 1949 will go into effect. USDA analysts have released a report that shows what that would mean for agriculture.

"If Congress fails to act, and law reverts to 1949," says Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, "There are huge ramifications in delivery of programs and price of food."

Most of the basic price supports for crops would go up, although not up to what prices are currently. However dairy price supports would be more than $15 per hundredweight higher than current record prices. Sugar and oilseed programs would cease to exist and some wheat growers would also loose their farm programs. Export credit guarantees would also be gone.

"This is a very serious situation if it were to happen," Schafer says.

TAGS: USDA
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