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Now that the government is back up and running, the President says Congress should work to pass a Farm Bill. One Congressman says the country could see a bill passed in as soon as a month, but local farmers say the bill may not go far enough. Our Eva McKend reports.
CALLICOON, N.Y. -- "We should pass a Farm Bill, one that American farmers and ranchers can depend on," said the President in a Thursday address.
Some say it's a can that's long been kicked down the road, but now that the government is back up and running, there's a renewed focus on the Farm Bill.
Lawmakers believe a bill could be enacted in under a month.
For Alice Diehl of Sullivan County's Diehl Homestead Farm, a farm that's been around for six generations, there are concerns that even if the bill is passed, it won't make a difference.
"I’m not in favor of the bills that have been introduced so far. The dairy producers are not realizing cost of production in their milk checks. We are getting below cost of production. We are losing money. That’s the bottom line," said Diehl.
According to the New York Farm Bureau, the Farm Bill itself does not change how milk gets priced, but they say there are parts of the bill that will in fact help New York farmers and the rural economy across the state.
"In older Farm Bills, they may have focused on the larger commodity, things like corn, soybeans and cotton, but the new Farm Bill is geared more towards the farms we have here in New York State. There are changes to the safety net that will support our dairy farms and our specialty crop growers like our fruit and vegetable farmers," said Steve Ammerman of the Farm Bureau.
Farmers who have suffered financially for the past five years say whatever version of the Farm Bill Congress passes, they hope it leads to farmers finally being able to make a profit.
"We want to keep these farms in the family. We want to be able to raise our children and grandchildren here and realize the life we want," said Diehl.
If Congress doesn't pass a bill by January 1st, experts say agricultural policy in this country will revert to the 1940s. Milk prices could triple, but it's a scenario they say can and should be avoided.
"Something has to be done in order to have a safe and stable food policy in this country. Our farms and are food depend on it," said Ammerman.