Tuesday, October 16, 2018
 Farm Bill: Milk Prices Could Raise if Congress Fails to Act  

If Congress cannot find common ground soon on a farm bill that both funds the food stamp program and sets new agriculture policy, farmers and livestock producers risk losing insurance and drought relief, and milk prices could jump nationwide.

The trouble with the Sept. 30 deadline: Congress has only nine working days together next month.
"The single most important thing is for Congress to take action," said Don Shawcraft, president of the Colorado Farm Bureau. "There is so much up in the air. What will be the price of milk? What will be the price of a soybean? That's where the rubber meets the road. ... We need to get this done because it's good for Colorado." 

The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate don't have major differences on the agriculture portion of the farm bill, which has passed both chambers. The proposed legislation eliminates direct payments for some crops, creates a robust insurance program and avoids reverting to a 1949 law that would lead to spikes in the price of butter and cheese. But gaping differences remain on Capitol Hill about what to do with the food stamp program. 

The House rejected a comprehensive agriculture and food stamp bill earlier this summer, in part, because Democrats didn't like the $20 billion in cuts to food stamps and some Republicans didn't think the cuts went far enough. Instead the House mustered a close vote on an agriculture-only bill. It was the first time since the 1970s the two pieces of policy were decoupled.

Farmers hated this move. Both the national agriculture lobby and the Colorado Farm Bureau support keeping food stamps and agriculture policy together.

At the moment, no one knows how the Senate and House will work out their differences on funding the federal nutritional program.

It is possible Congress could enact a short-term extension, but that may not have some of the reforms — like better insurance — farmers were fighting for. Plus that risks throwing the farm bill into the looming fiscal showdown in September and October, when the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30 and new money must be appropriated to keep the federal government open.

Allison Sherry: 202-662-8907, asherry@denverpost.com 

Source: Denver Post


Posted on Friday, August 30, 2013 (Archive on Friday, September 06, 2013)
Posted by bholcomb@adpi.org  Contributed by bholcomb@adpi.org