The 2012 Farm Bill is moving forward, and members of the agricultural community are encouraged by the progress.
A version of the bill has already passed the Senate and the House Ag Committee stayed up late Wednesday night and passed its version at 1 a.m. Thursday.
The old Farm Bill expires on October 1, and with Congress just two weeks away from its August recess, federal lawmakers are working overtime to make sure this legislation actually passes before the last minute.
South Dakota farmers like D.J. Buseman know that the recent hot and dry weather is starting to take a toll on their fields.
"Crops aren't looking so hot. Our soy beans are still holding together pretty good, corn is looking a little rough, and our alfalfa that was definitely down," Buseman said.
That's why farm officials say Congress needs to pass the new Farm Bill before the old bill expires.
"It is important that we get this stuff done. One of the major things I think most of the states here in the Upper Midwest have been working for is the safety net. We can see why with the drought, and some of the hail storms, and some of the weather that goes through the Upper Midwest here," South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Walt Bones said.
Bones stayed up Wednesday night to watch the House Agriculture Committee work through and pass its own version of the Farm Bill. He says it's encouraging that the bill continues to move forward.
"Gridlock doesn't work for producers in situations like this so it's very encouraging," Bones said.
Congresswoman Kristi Noem of South Dakota is on the Ag Committee that passed the bill early Thursday morning. One of the areas of the bill she helped include was a livestock disaster protection program that would not only help farmers and ranchers in the future but would cover them for their losses during the drought that is hitting the country this summer.
"So getting our bill and the provision I championed in the House across to retroactively look at this year and get our livestock producers covered is critically important to me and that's what I'm going to work to do," Noem said.
And Buseman says getting this legislation passed will help give farmers some peace of mind that the programs that provide a safety net for agriculture will be there.
"I think it's good that they're somewhat coming together and achieving a goal; getting it completed and getting it done in a timely fashion. It shows there is some importance," Buseman said.
Noem is hopeful that the full House can take up the Farm Bill in the next two weeks before the August recess. Then the House and Senate will have to come together to hammer out the final details of both bills.