The nine-month “fix” in the farm bill is worse than nothing. With the last-minute approval of this compromise, largely without debate, we lost relatively inexpensive yet essential support for organic producers and new farmers and minority farmers and farmers markets, along with major cuts in financial support for conservation practices. In addition, the compromise bill reverted to massively inappropriate direct commodity payments, a practice that both parties and both houses of Congress had at last agreed to discontinue.
For farmers and sustainable agriculture advocates, it was a betrayal, a moment that can be described as “Yes, we kick the can.” The farm bill extension is a “disaster,” according to National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (http://www.sustainableagriculture.net). Said NSAC chairman Ferd Hoefner (in Tom Philpott’s article linked below), the Obama administration “has this blind spot – passing a farm bill is something they’ve never really been interested in.”
It’s up to grassroots advocates, starting with the many organizational members of the NSAC, to put the feds’ feet to the fire. For more on the temporary farm bill extension, see Tom Philpott’s report in “Mother Jones”: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/01/fiscal-cliff-farm-bill.