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The Farm Bill Has Expired. Now What? The Farm Bill Has Expired. Now What?

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The Farm Bill Has Expired. Now What?

In this photo taken Sept. 14, 2012, cows at the the Atsma-Cameron Dairy in take a break from feeding in Hanford, Calif. Across California, the nation's largest dairy state, dozens of dairy operators have filed for bankruptcy or sold their herds because of high feed costs and milk prices that are lower than in other states. (AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka)  (AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka)

October 1, 2012

Another Sept. 30 deadline has come and gone: the farm bill expired today. So who cares?

Well, dairy farmers for one. They could feel some pain, as they'll soon stop receiving federal aid. Some Democratic lawmakers predict milk prices will skyrocket as a result. But by and large, not much will change immediately.

Nutrition programs such as food stamps remain unaffected. Crop insurance will continue and crops planted this year are covered under current law. Crisis mode won't really kick in, in earnest, until the end of the year.

Congress went into recess this month without approving a comprehensive, five-year farm bill, a fact that House Democrats have used to attack the GOP. It was a central piece of their "do-nothing Congress" messaging during last week's House pro forma sessions.

And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement today saying, "House Republicans allowed the Farm Bill to expire, which subjects America's farmers and communities to enormous uncertainty, at a time when they can least afford it."

Republicans, on the other hand, have placed the blame on Senate Democrats for not moving on a disaster aid package that passed out of the House.

House Speaker John Boehner said before recess that the House would take up the farm bill after the election, but was short on specifics.

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