When it comes to a comprehensive, long-term Farm Bill -- Congress simply must get to work. And we must work together with civility and respect to get the job done. I am very disappointed that Congress could not come together to reauthorize the Farm Bill in 2012. I am hopeful, with the passage of H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, that the scene is set for more productive efforts on this issue.
Hardworking families in Missouri's Fifth District deserve this -- and I will continue to fight for it. Right now, for instance, disaster assistance programs continue to be unfunded, as we enter the second year of an already devastating drought. And farmers continue to face uncertainty about programs in the coming years.
I referred to H.R. 8 a moment earlier. Included in it was an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill through September of this year. I believe this is a positive step forward in that the nine month extension continues current farm programs, including direct payments and the dairy support program. If current farm programs hadn't been extended, dairy policy would have reverted to a 1949 law, roughly doubling wholesale milk prices. It maintains spending for the Conservation Reserve Program, The Conservation Stewardship Program, and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, but doesn't fund programs that expired last year, like the disaster programs I mentioned. It also doesn't fund rural development, beginning farmer and rancher programs or renewable energy.
In considering a new farm bill this year, we must provide financial help for farmers when times are tough. It is that simple. We should protect Missouri's proud and longstanding history as an agricultural state. Assisting young farmers, supporting agricultural education and research, while managing and preserving our land will affect the prosperity of our region for years and years to come. It is in reaching out and finding compromise that we will move forward, keep our economy on track, and continue to create and keep jobs for the hardworking people in Missouri's Fifth District.