Monke says some of the programs are pilot programs or are new programs without a large constituency. He says six are bio-energy programs; five are related to specialty crops or beginning and minority farmers. However, the wetlands reserve and the grasslands reserve programs have been well established for many years.

If any of the programs are to be continued, the agriculture committees have to pay for them from the funding allocated for farm programs, and cannot fund them from any “new” money. Other programs have to be reduced or sacrificed to pay for the 37 that are nearing expiration.

For example, the conservation programs that are within the 37 expiring are: Wetlands Reserve, Grasslands Reserve, Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, Small Watershed Rehabilitation Program and Desert Terminal Lakes. In the Rural Development sector of the farm bill, programs destined for termination include: Rural Micro-entrepreneur Assistance Program, Funding of Pending Rural Development Loan and Grant Applications, and Value-Added Agricultural Market Development Program Grants.

Monke reports that one program that ends a year before the expiration of the farm bill is the supplemental agricultural disaster assistance program that was created in the 2008 Farm Bill. He says it was authorized in an effort to end the ad hoc crop disaster assistance. Another is the ethanol blenders’ tax credit, which expires at the end of December.

Summary

The current farm bill has $283 billion worth of programs over its five year life, most of which will continue into the next farm bill. But there are 37 programs worth $9 to $10 billion that are destined for expiration because there are no provisions for continued funding. Included are the permanent disaster program and the wetlands reserve program. Some are pilot programs, but there are more than $2 billion worth of conservation programs, the $4 billion disaster program, and a variety of small organic programs.