Farm Bill Foot Dragging

Enacted over a veto, the 2008 Farm Bill, remains a work in progress.

Unlike many farm bills which eventually receive support from both the Congress and the administration, the 2008 Farm Bill was enacted over the veto of the President. Because of that situation, it is not surprising to see an ongoing struggle between the administration and the advocates of various programs in the Farm Bill, especially when it comes to the writing of the implementing regulations.

Three of the most notable examples include the ACRE program, the 10-acre rule and country-of-origin labeling. In each case the advocates argue that the administration is ignoring the intent of Congress in their rulemaking.

Congress has made a fix on at least the 10-acre rule and continues to loudly advocate originally intended interpretation on the others.

Daryll Ray, director of the University of Tennessee's Agricultural Policy Analysis Center (APAC), explained that it is common for authorizing legislation for a particular farm bill element to not be funded or not be fully funded by appropriation committees and thereby not be implemented.

"But this farm bill go-around has given me more classroom examples of legislating from the executive bench via USDA rules and regs--that specifically conflict with Farm Bill originators--than I can recall during any of my preceding 36 years in the classroom," Ray says.


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