Congress let the massive farm bill expire over
the weekend, and for Vermont dairy farmers it now means the end of the
safety net program known as Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC), which
helps bridge the gap between what it costs to produce milk and what
farmers get paid for it.
The Agency of Natural Resources prepares to launch a new initiative that prevents stormwater runoff through better infrastructure design. And Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross discusses the implications of Congress’ failure to pass a new farm bill.
There’s a growing possibility
that Congress will allow the current Farm Bill to expire at the end of this
month, is why Congressman Peter Welch is trying to force a vote on a new bill
that has important provisions for the state’s dairy industry.
House Republican leaders want
to delay consideration of the 2012 Farm bill until next year and that has set
off a political battle in Washington. The plan would delay key reforms in dairy
The House Agriculture committee has adopted a plan that allows farmers to purchase a special insurance
policy that would reimburse them whenever milk prices dropped below the cost of
production. The bill also cuts the Food Stamp program by $16
billion over the next 10 years.
The U.S. Senate has just
started a lengthy debate over a new Farm bill – a process that happens
every five years. The proposal cuts current spending levels by roughly $24 billion
over the next ten years and the plan also includes a new way to protect
dairy farmers from wild swings in milk prices.