The soaring cost of crop insurance and the move away from direct payments to farmers in favor of risk-management measures will shape the future of the farm bill, according to Ohio State University agricultural economists who shared their perspectives with farmers and other attendees on the inaugural day of the 50th Farm Science Review in London, Ohio.

The panel featured farm policy expert Carl Zulauf and international trade and policy specialist Ian Sheldon, both from the university’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.

They were joined by Katharine Ferguson, legislative aide to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who is a member of the agriculture committee. Matt Roberts, who specializes in risk management and commodity prices, moderated the panel.

The discussion focused around the likelihood that a new farm bill will not be passed by Congress before Sept. 30, when the current legislation is set to expire. Zulauf said he expects an extension to the bill will be approved, maintaining things as they are until the end of the year.

(For complete farm bill coverage, click here).

“It’s more common than not common that the farm bill expires before another one is approved,” Zulauf said, noting this situation has become the norm in recent history. “Jan. 1, 2013, is really the date to watch for, when some of the programs (in the current legislation)would go away if there’s no new farm bill and the resolution to continue it expires.”