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December 5, 2013

A Farm Bill for Christmas?

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

Unless Congress does something about it, the farm bill will expire at the end of this year. American Farm Bureau public policy director Dale Moore says he’s holding out a wee bit of hope that it will happen before Christmas. AFBF’s Johnna Miller has the story.
MillerFarmers and ranchers have literally been waiting for years for a new farm bill. With only a handful of working days left on the schedule this year for Congress, American Farm Bureau public policy director Dale Moore says the outlook of it happening this year is tenuous.
MooreWe’re going on three years now of waiting for a new farm bill to get done. From the standpoint of time running out this year, we’re back to hoping and praying that we can get something done, if not before the 13th then hopefully the House and Senate go into a little bit of overtime before this year is out and maybe we’ll see something get done before Christmas gets here.
MillerBut there’s more than just the question of whether Congress will get it done before the latest extension of the current bill expires at the end of this year.
MooreHalf the questions I get from reporters these days focus on, well is the farm bill going to be part of the budget negotiations? We don’t have a clue. We keep hearing that but we also are hopeful that the farm bill itself will get wrapped up this year. That’s looking dicey.
MillerAnd if they don’t get it done? The permanent law from 1949 will take over. If you consume any dairy products, that won’t be good for your pocketbook. Moore explains why.
MooreWe’re dealing with the 1949 Ag Act, 60 years out of date in terms of the policies that are in place and we’re going to see an impact on dairy, because dairy does not have a supply-management feature in permanent law. The best estimation that we could come up with was that folks buying a gallon of milk in the store would see somewhere between a dollar and maybe two dollars increase in price. That’s a significant increase on a staple that I think you see on virtually every table in America. The fact is folks are going to see all milk prices rise, which is going to have direct impact at some level on virtually every dairy product that’s out there: cheese, milk, butter, ice cream.
MillerJohnna Miller, Washington.

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