Local Farmers Worry About Government Shutdown


October 1 could be a bad day for farmers in two ways.

Number one: the nine-month extension of the Farm Bill will expire.

While that won't have an immediate effect, it could impact the price of milk down the road.

For diary farmers like Mike Kiechle, who has worked at his farm in Philadelphia for over 30 years, that's cause for concern.

"What's the price of milk going to be 60 days down, if they don't have the numbers to tell the manufacturers what they have to pay us," he said.

Number two: if lawmakers on Capitol Hill can't resolve the budget and the government does in fact shut down, one place affected is the Department of Agriculture.

"If a lot of the government employees are furloughed, they aren't going to have the money to come buy the more expensive foods. So maybe the Greek yogurt won't be sold as much," said Kiechle.

"The crop-reporting and items that farms need to communicate with USDA on - it starts to be an issue," said Jefferson County Agricultural Coordinator Jay Matteson.

Farmers acknowledge that a temporary government shutdown wouldn't be all that bad.

Neither would the brief loss of a Farm Bill.

But they are frustrated because lawmakers haven't been able to pass a new Farm Bill since it expired last year.

It doesn't look like they will anytime soon and farmers say that will be a big problem.

Sunday, December 11, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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