Prices Could Rise at Market Due to Farm Bill Expiration
KREX News Room
MESA COUNTY, Colo.- Although the farm bill has expired, questions on what that means for the country remain. NewsChannel 5 looked into two key issues relating to its expiration.
One issue involves food stamps. About 75 percent of the farm bill is designated for food stamps. This issue was addressed prior to the House ending session, and the president signed a continuing resolution. SNAP will continue being funded until March 27.
NewsChannel 5 also spoke with local farmers about what impact the expiration could have at the grocery store.
Bob Raymond, president of Raymond Dairy Inc., said, "We're just trying to survive with the high price of the feed; we need the Farm Bill to pass. It also has a lot of other stuff in it, NRCS programs and the conservation programs, and all of that need to be continued."
He explained that, before understanding how the farm bill expiration is affecting farmers and consumers, it's critical to realize that the drought is responsible for many of today's frustrations.
"Everybody in the milk industry, nobody's broke even in the last three months. No one's made enough money off of their milk to run their operation," Raymond said.
The drought has significantly risen costs for farmers. Last year hay was around $130 a ton. This year, farmers aren't paying less than $200. Consumers at the grocery store are also beginning to see the effects.
Raymond said, "Whether the farm bill is passed or not, the price of milk is going to increase them because dairies went broke and are selling out and killing cows more."
Adding to dairy farmers' worries is the expired farm bill.
"The dairy farmer has some provisions in the new farm bill that would make our business a lot more stable we think, without costing the consumers more money."
The drought plus the expired farm bill is causing headaches all around.
"Last year's drought in Texas and all the southwest cut the beef herd considerably, and this year's not starting to rebuild it. You're going to see in increase in it and a lot of other things at the market," Raymond said.
However, Raymond is hopeful. He said, "There's an old bill on the books from 1949, and if they don't have a current bill it reverts to that. I don't think Congress will let that happen. We'd like all you consumers to keep drinking milk and we'll try to keep producing it."
If Congress can make some quick decisions when they meet again, dairy farmers may finally get the help they desperately need.