WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congress averted the “fiscal cliff” with the Tuesday night passage of a massive tax measure, which included a nine-month extension of the 2008 Farm Bill. The compromise also sets a $5.12 million per-person estate tax exemption, adjusted for inflation, with a rate of 40 percent.
Unfortunately, the extension of the Farm Bill excludes funding for several specialty crop programs and disregards reforms made by the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee in the 2012 Farm Bill. For example, lawmakers set discretionary funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) at $100 million, while mandatory funding stood at $50 million in the 2012 Farm Bill. With a discretionary designation, lawmakers must still approve appropriations for the research programs.
The Farm Bill will need to be redrafted in the coming months and reconsidered by both chambers before the Sept. 30, 2013 deadline.