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Update on Farm Bill negotiations

The long delayed farm bill got attention today in Washington.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - The long delayed farm bill got attention today in Washington.

 

The farm bill conference committee is holding its first public meeting where each of the 41 members is being given a chance to speak.

 

"I think you are going to see some alliances happen based on what issues are really important to what people. Is dairy important to them? Is it rice or cotton? Are they democrat or republican.  Those all make differences as to how the votes lineup"  explains Karen Gefvert with The Wisconsin Farm Bureau.

 

The extension to the Farm Bill ran out in September, however that is now the first delay.


The controversy is a battle between the house and senate over cuts to the nation's food stamp programs.

 

Senators want to cut about $four billion over the next ten years. House legislators want to cut nearly $40 billion.

 

The farm bill also impacts crop insurance, milk production and disaster assistance just to scratch the surface.

 

Farmers want to know how they will be able to protect their bottom line in the years ahead.

 

"Are we going to have a direct payment when we have low prices? Are we going to have some type of subsidy or are we going to get some type of insurance program? asks Zen Miller, Dairy/Livestock Agent with the UW Extension. " I think insurance programs are they way farm bills are moving at this point".

 

The clock is ticking on a very real timeline to avoid reaching the so called "dairy cliff".

 

If the bill doesn't pass, starting January 1st, the formula would change dramatically for milk and dairy product pricing.

 

Consumers could wind up paying $6 for a gallon of milk.

 

All sides agree it is unlikely we will see a farm bill in the next few weeks.

 

The bigger battle is over passing a budget, which has to happen early in December to avoid another shutdown.

 

The hope is the farm bill will fall into place after that.

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