January 23, 2020

Policy Issues; Ag Economy; Budget Issues; and, Trade

Farm Bill and Policy Issues

Ted Booker reported yesterday at The Watertown Daily Times (N.Y.) Online that, “The lull in Congress before the new year may be called the ‘lame duck’ session, but Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh [Ag. Comm. Member], says legislators will have to get to work in a hurry to pass a five-year farm bill before the session ends…[S]ome lawmakers have pushed for a short-term extension of the bill, but Mr. Owens has opposed that idea, saying he does not want to see the full bill scrapped.

“Approving an extension ‘would be more complicated than one might think,’ he said. ‘We need to make sure we’re covering all aspects of the plan, and an extension would take just as much time to get done as passing the bill.’”

The article added that, “And if the bill isn’t passed by the end of the year, it will mean more painful cuts to federal programs for farmers. Dairy farmers in the north country already are suffering from the discontinuation of the Milk Income Loss Contract program with the expiration of the bill. The federal safety net reimbursed farmers when national milk prices dropped, said Steve Ammerman, manager of public affairs for the New York Farm Bureau. If the revamped farm bill is passed, farmers would have the option to join a new margin insurance program, which will calculate reimbursements based on the gap between feed and milk costs.”