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No Farm Bill by End of Year

SPRINGFIELD—Lawmakers have been trying to get a farm bill passed before they wrapped up for the year, but leaders now say, that won’t happen. WCIA-3’s Ashley Michels keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

They say it will have to wait until next year. Lawmakers say they’ll be ready to put a farm bill on the table in January, at the earliest. The delay has farmers worried what the law will look like heading into spring.

As lawmakers hash out the future of agriculture and food stamps, farmers like Allen Entwistle are getting ready for the upcoming season. But, he says stalled talks in Washington make it tough to plan ahead.

“We’re really concerned that next year we’ve invested thousands and thousands of dollars that we’re not able to insure.”

That’s because, without a farm bill, there won’t be any crop insurance which is a doomsday scenario for most local farmers.

“There’s going to be people who aren’t going to be able to survive.”

Farming is both risky and expensive.

“One of the biggest challenges that we face today in agriculture is the investments we have.”

Crop insurance gives farmers a safety net of cash to fall back on, to pay for equipment and supplies, if their land doesn’t produce. It’s federally-subsidized under the farm bill, so if lawmakers don’t act, farmers will be on their own next time there’s drought, flood or freeze.

“It’s a big worry. Without crop insurance last year, no, we didn’t make any money on the insurance, but we covered our costs.”

Entwistle says he’d only be able to hang on for a couple of years before he’d have to shut down his farm for good.

“We’d probably have to mortgage a piece of farm to keep us existing. We’d probably have to borrow against that ground and pay for it again.”

The higher the costs are for farmers, the more you’ll pay for food at the grocery store. But, lawmakers say it will take a little while for that to happen. As long as they pass a deal in January, we shouldn’t notice any difference.

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