BACK SEAT: Farm Bill Expires At Midnight

Posted on: 6:28 pm, September 30, 2013, by

It’s the same problem one year later.

“It came to expiration and congress elected to extend the 2008 farm bill rather than reforming the package,” said Craig Hill, the federation president of Iowa Farm Bureau.

Congress had nine months to adopt a new farm bill that addresses crop insurance, direct payments to farmers, and offers incentives for conservation.

No deal has been reached.

The biggest hold up according to Hill is cuts to the SNAP program.

“The nutrition bill on the senate side reduces food stamps by $4.5 billion dollars over 10 years. The house version eliminates about $40 billion dollars over 10 years,” Hill told Channel 13 News.

At midnight, the nine month extension of the farm bill will expire.

Without a bill, you won’t notice the effects at the grocery store until January 1st.

That’s when experts say the price of milk would rise to nearly $8 dollars per gallon.

“For a young family that has a lot of kids at the table, that puts a dent in their budget for other things,” said Bob Tatge, a Dahl’s shopper.

Unlike a jump in food prices, some things happen immediately, like the shutdown of farm conservation programs.

“We’ve been doing all sorts of conservation over the past 30-40 years,” said Craig Fleishman, a farmer out of Minburn.

This summer, Des Moines Water Works stopped using the Des Moines River due to high nitrate levels.

Methods like no till farming help reduce chemicals in the ground water and the government offers financial incentives for doing it.

Fleishman says he doesn’t need incentives to “do the right thing”, but he’s concerned some farmers do.

“I’d be worried there are farmers who won’t participate unless they’re forced to,” said Fleishman.