Farm Bill Extended, But Many Dissatisfied

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As Congress worked to come up with a last-minute fiscal cliff deal, it kicked another issue down the road: the farm bill.

Congress chose to simply extend the 2008 program, much to the disappointment of many in the agriculture community.

It largely has to do with something called Direct Payments to Farmers, which are subsidies not tied to production.

Direct payments will continue with the extension.

"Is it the program that we and most farmers wanted? Absolutely not," north country Congressman Bill Owens said. 

"We've been looking to see that the margin insurance program got put in place because we think that's a better protection for farmers," Owens said.

Ariane Lotti with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition calls it bad policy.

"It's bad policy because its disconnected from what farmers are producing and it's no longer needed," Lotti said.

Lotti says most farmers would prefer a different safety net, based on risk management.

The farm bill extension also cuts several programs such as disaster aid.

"It cut out about 20 programs that didn't have what is known as mandatory funding in the 2008 farm bill," Owens said. "So there's a significant number of programs that got cut out.

The new Congress will now have to work on crafting a new five-year farm bill.

Some agriculture leaders are worried that federal budget pressures will result in much bigger cuts.
 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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