NORWICH – Although highly favored in the agricultural community and backed by numerous state legislators, the Farm Bill has been left to expire, leaving many local farmers without a financial safeguard in place and leaving many to wonder how they’ll cope without it.
The Farm Bill, first enacted in 2008, had been tabled for weeks before the House of Representatives allowed the 2012 Farm Bill to expire on Sept. 30. Most devastating to small farmers is the loss of Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC), which yielded extra revenue as part of the bill when milk prices fell below a certain level. Some small farmers depended on the program to provide as much as ten percent or more of their milk check, depending on the month. Had the bill passed, it would have transitioned a new safety net to farmers who take part in the program.
There’s still a chance that a new safety net can be put in place before the end of the year, but given the circumstances of an election year, many farmers aren’t holding out much hope, according the President of the Chenango County Farm Bureau Bradd Vickers, who argued that the game of Washington politics is to blame.