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Local agriculture experts weigh in on farm bill

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 09 2013 06:09:06 PM CST

Local agricuture experts weigh in on farm bill

Congress is running out of time to get a new farm bill on the books before the new year.

There are fears that milk prices could double.

But local agriculture experts say don't sweat it.

While many of us are focused on the holidays, farmers like William Boyd are focused on what could happen in the New Year.

There is plenty of speculation that if Congress doesn't pass a farm bill soon, milk prices could double.

"I wouldn't lose any sleep over the price of milk going to 8 dollars..it will never happen," said John Berry with Penn State Lehigh County Extension.

Berry says it's highly unlikely congress won't pass a farm bill.

He says if a bill didn't pass, milk prices could  jump about a $1.25 temporarily.

Boyd says he's also confident the farm bill will pass. But he is keeping a close eye on on the farm bill's crop insurance subsidies.

Without them, he'd have to pay 25 to 30 dollars an acre, instead of just ten bucks an acre,  increasing costs significantly.

"We have the cheapest and most plentiful food in the world and to keep that coming you better keep the farmers in business," said Boyd.

Congressman Charlie Dent says lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are working on a compromise and a vote could come by the end of the week.

"Even if the farm bill were not  to be considered this week I suspect the house and senate would agree to an extension of the current milk law so I just say not to panic on that score," said Dent.

Dent says he believes the only major change will be to the nutrition subsidy portion of the farm bill..

80 percent of farm bill dollars toward programs like food stamps.

Dent says there will be cuts to the tune of 8 billion dollars over 10 years. But he says milk prices and dairy farmers should not see a change.