Congress starts to work early on 2012 Farm Bill

Don’t get too comfortable with the policies and programs contained in the current federal farm bill: That was the message that the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee brought to farmers and ranchers attending a field hearing in Fresno last week. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said farmers should expect “fundamental changes” in farm policy and said there will be “little room for the status quo” in the next farm bill, because of budgetary pressures and a public increasingly skeptical of traditional farm programs. “Don’t just get stuck in the idea that we have to have the same thing we’ve always had. Take a look at how we could do this better. Is there a way that we could have a more efficient, effective system, maybe with less money?” Peterson said. “That is why I wanted to start a year early, so that we could have extra time. I want you to get engaged to work with us, to see if there is a way we can make changes that work for agriculture.”