A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

The Farm Bill reform or Tantalus’ torment1

December 16, 2013


Veni, vidi, non vici.

In the end, fate is dealing farmers with a cruel hand. While they had hoped for a deal on the Farm Bill before Thanksgiving on November 28, and wished the quick implementation a new framework-law since the October 1 expiration of the current one, they were once again disappointed. The new bill should not be passed before January 2014. Already suffering from the prolonged lack of vote and the government shutdown this past October, American agriculture might be hurt again by the delay.

To this date, American lawmakers were presented with two options: Extending the 2008 Farm Bill or reaching an agreement before the end of 2013.

Until the end of 2013, no program, subsidy or due amounts under the 2008 Farm Bill will be interrupted. Yet, the Senate Democratic majority feels that extending the Farm Bill again would be a poor solution, especially since it would allow direct payments to continue in case of prolongation.

Even if the key speakers in the Senate and House of Representatives were able to “bridge the gaps” between the two Farm Bill versions on December 5, and thus get nearer a final text for a congressional vote, we are far from a done deal.

On September 19, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives adopted a text that cuts food aid programs by close to $40 million over the next ten years. But this proposal is far from defusing tensions, and food aid remains one of the key bones of contention between the House of Representatives and the Senate.

This difficult compromise can be summed up by the words of Republican Senator Jeff Fontenberry who said “If you are going to ask for reductions in the nutrition programs, you should also ask the most successful farmers out there to tighten their belt a little bit as well.’”

One of the current issues is reaching a suitable deal before the end of January 2014 to prevent the “dairy cliff”, that is to say a sharp increase in milk prices. Without congressional action, milk prices could soar to $7/gallon under the permanent laws passed in 1938 and 1949, an outdated legislation that does not reflect agricultural and trade practices or current market conditions.

If every effort will be made to prevent the “dairy cliff”, the lack of visibility regarding the Farm Bill remains a source of high anxiety for farmers, and could have a disrupting effect for markets, which are volatile by nature and all the more unstable without pertinent regulation.


1 Torment that consists in presenting the condemned with what he needs and withdrawing it just when he tries to help himself.
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Paris, 16 December 2018