NORWICH Ė Despite drawn-out negotiations, United States law makers are optimistic a new farm bill will be put in place as early as next month, giving farmers and dairy consumers alike reason to breath a sigh of relief.
The long-awaited U.S. Farm Bill was a topic of discussion during a visit from Congressman Richard Hanna to the local yogurt manufacturer Sunrise Farms in Norwich last week. While itís become clear the federal legislature will not pass a farm bill before the end of the year, hopes are high that the Senate and House of Representatives will reach an agreement on a new bill by the end of January, he said.
A new federal farm bill is adopted every five years. However, farmers nationwide have been without one since the 2008 Farm Bill expired in September after being given a year-long extension in 2012.
If a new farm bill isnít passed soon, the federal government, by law, will revert to an outdated 1940s era agriculture policy that will require it to purchase dairy products at prices high above the market rate in order to keep dairy farms afloat. That policy, put in place by the federal government in 1949 to support farmers and provide dairy farmers a price floor for their products, will subsequently lead to a steep hike in dairy prices for consumers who could pay as much as $8 per gallon at the grocery store.