Michael Kiechle just loves farming. It's been four generations of Kiechles on their Philadelphia farm. This is how Kiechle grew up. The land, the crops, the livestock. It's what he knows.
"This was the home farm. I enjoyed the lifestyle. And I still enjoy the lifestyle," said Kiechle.
But Kiechle doesn't feel like he's getting the support he needs from lawmakers. Come September 30th, the federal government would be without a farm bill. And if the Senate and House can't agree to pass one by January 1st, as Kiechle puts it, the effects could be disastrous.
The future of small farming could be in jeopardy. Kiechle says that's because dairy prices would go up, and demand would go down. So where does it stand in Congress now? The Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House have different versions of the bill. The two versions are very far apart. In fact, not a single Democrat voted for the House bill. Only a congressional conference can bring the two bills together.
"It will be interesting to see whether the House appoints conferees or not. The Senate is prepared to appoint conferees. Now it's up to the house republican leadership to appoint conferees," said Bill Owens, District 21.
Congressman Bill Owens is cautiously optimistic that a conference will get together and a farm bill will be passed in time. Kiechle doesn't share Owens's sentiment.
"This Congress has been deadlocked for several years now. I'm not overly optimistic that they'll get it done. We will survive one way or another," said Kiechle.
If there's going to be a fifth generation of Keichles on the farm, he doesn't have any other choice but to survive.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014, Watertown, NY