Bill Rowell knows the perils of being a Vermont dairy farmer.
"It's not all that I know, but it's what I like," Rowell said.
The future of his farm in Sheldon, along with countless others around the U.S., is up in the air with the five-year $500 billion farm bill stalling before Congress.
"The speaker's office is saying we will not take it up for debate. That's wrong. We have a job to do. The fact that it's a difficult job isn't an excuse for Congress not to do its job," said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont.
Welch and his House Agriculture Committee passed a new farm bill earlier this month, but Republican Speaker John Boehner won't let it hit the House floor, fearing the expensive bill will divide his party in an election year. Instead, the speaker wants to move ahead with a one-year extension plus disaster aid for over two-thirds of the country's farmers experiencing severe drought.
"It's unacceptable and that's it," Rowell said.
Opponents say the one-year extension would mean no safety net for farmers because it doesn't look far enough into the future.
"We need a farm bill; farmers need consistency. This is a five-year bill. They should have a five-year bill," said Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y.
The MILC program is funded by the farm bill. It pays small and midsize dairy farmers cash when prices drop. By design, that funding decreases in August. If the extension passes the funding would stay at that reduced level.
"The MILC program that would be extended would collapse and have no value to Vermont farmers, even though we are anticipating higher feed costs," Welch said.
"It's kind of hard to look at them when they stall like this and have any endearment towards them or their process," Rowell said.
Advocates for the 2012 five-year farm bill also point out that taxes are reduced in the new bill, but not in the one-year extension. The extension would continue funding for all federal farm and food stamp programs through September 2013, but decrease spending on direct farm subsidies. That money would go to farmers out west who are battling a record drought.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>