Farm Bill: Nearly Past the Expiration Date

By Erika Mahoney

September 28, 2012 Updated Oct 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM EDT

Whitney Point, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Farmers across the United States are left hanging when it comes to the future of their farm and food policy legislation.

Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner said the House of Representatives will not vote on a new bill before the current one expires this Sunday, Sept. 30.

Judi Whittaker of the Whittaker Dairy Farm in Whitney Point said she is frustrated with the government for not passing the bill because legislators have been talking about this for years.

She said there is no reason why they couldn't pass it on time, other than the discord between the Senate and the House.

The Senate was able to pass its version in June, but it has since been suspended in the House.

Both Whittaker and the Chenango County Farm Bureau say because legislators waited so long, it's making it even tougher for local farmers.

"They don't understand from where they sit how it directly relates and affects us everyday, on a farm," said Whittaker. "Some of the programs involved in the Farm Bill definitely will hurt September 30th when that sunsets. There's going to be some large effects on a lot of farms in Broome County."

"It' very disappointing at this stage of the game that our legislators are more concerned about the November election than America's food supply," said Bradd Vickers, President of the Chenango County Farm Bureau. "And talk about a national security issue... I think that is one of the biggest."

They said once the bill sunsets on Sunday, one of the biggest losses will be a USDA program called The Milk Income Loss Contract.

M.I.L.C. compensates dairy farmers when domestic milk prices fall below a certain level.

Whittaker said now she can only hope lawmakers finish a new bill by the end of the year.