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US Farm Bill developments: 2013 and implications for Canada’s Agri-Food sector

January 17, 2013, Guelph, ON - The George Morris Centre’s latest report, “US Farm Bill Developments in 2013 and Implications for Canada’s Agri-Food Sector” focuses on the recent results from the newly passed “fiscal cliff” legislation in the United States and the one year extension of the 2008 US Farm Bill.  The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 did not fully resolve all the fiscal issues facing the US Government and US citizens.  The extension of the 2008 Farm Bill does provide some clarity for next months, and opportunity to renew US farm policy processes to develop, approve and pass new federal legislation for a 2013 Farm Bill.  However, as Bob Seguin, Executive Director of the Centre, notes in the report, there are new uncertainties as a result of the extension and overall US policy focus on fiscal issues which will affect Canada’s agri-food sector, and national agri-food policy.

Seguin notes that the US legislation did not resolve the outstanding issues within the 2012 Farm Bill proposals. Indeed, the extension allows renewed debate on what had been the perceived policy consensus. New policy divides and increased fiscal constraints may alter and even further delay the 2013 farm policy process. This can create new market uncertainties as the US policy context remains open rather than formalized as anticipated in 2012. For Canada’s  agri-food sector and national policy makers this could adversely affect both US markets and possibly the effectiveness of the current implementation Growing Forward II national agri-food policy framework. The need to better understand the US farm policy processes, stakeholder views, and the new limits of a consensus US farm and food policy is a key gap for the Canadian industry and policy makers. Past experiences with US farm legislation may no longer be sufficient and could mislead Canadians on the directions, scale and breadth of US farm policy development, and implementation. This should be a priority for monitoring and policy analysis for Canada in 2013.

The report can be found here

For more information, contact:
Bob Seguin, Executive Director
George Morris Centre
Tel: (519) 822-3929 ext. 210