While the majority of tax-paying Americans avoided going over the fiscal cliff as 2013 came to life, most farmers were left wondering what the nine-month extension to the 2008 farm bill will really bring for them in the upcoming cropping year.

The extension was reached primarily via negotiations between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel and Vice President Joe Biden.

For row crop growers in the South, the extension means at least a temporary business as usual approach to planning 2013 crops.

For cotton and peanut growers, in particular, it is a temporary reprieve, which may help these traditional Southern crops compete better for acreage with grain crops.

The full Senate and the House Agriculture Committee earlier this year agreed to permanently eliminate direct payment subsidies for commodity production, regardless of price and income conditions, yet the deal would lock in these subsidies for another full year at a $5 billion price tag.

Soybean, corn and wheat growers nationwide seem to be the biggest winners with the temporary farm bill fix.

The American Soybean Association sees some good in the extension, but is asking Congress to commit to a new farm bill. Meanwhile, the National Corn Growers Association says Congress’ farm bill failure hampers America.

Rural economies hoping to rebound from a dismal post-recession recovery, on the other hand, took a direct hit from the 2008 farm bill extension.

For the next nine months, at least, getting started as a young farmer will continue to be financially impractical at best.

All of the targeted programs, such as the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) to the National Organic Cost-Share Program to the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAGP), were completely left out of the last minute agreement.

Conservation leaders are also dismayed that the temporary farm bill alsohas the effect of keeping farmers from being able to improve soil and water conservation through enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program.