Onan Whitcomb's family has been in farming since 1867. He is not impressed with the nine-month farm bill extension passed by Congress during fiscal cliff negotiations.
"No, it does not help," Whitcomb said.
The extension does include the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program through September of this year, guaranteeing farmers a minimum price for milk. Subsidies to help pay for feed were also extended. But that is not good enough, according to Congressman Peter Welch.
"The MILC program, which helps our dairy farmers, was the bare minimum and it is really not going to do all that much. I was extremely disappointed that the reform dairy stabilization program that would give farmers more price security and save taxpayers money that got left in the dustbin," said Welch, D-Vermont.
"Can't rely on the business because nine months in the dairy business is very short term. Five years is more midterm. So, we have to do our planning differently, we would like to rely on it but we can't rely on it, so we just go around it so to speak," he said.
Bob Parsons is an agricultural economist for University of Vermont Extension. He says the farm bill is important, but lawmakers had bigger issues at stake during fiscal cliff negotiations. He says the nine-month extension is understandable.
"I think the extension, from a positive point of view, might have been because they said let's just extend what we have had for the last five years so that after we get past the financial stuff, we can sit down and talk about this reasonably," Parsons said.
But at least one Vermont farmer is not counting on Washington.
"I'm very optimistic. I gotta be optimistic; we just put robots in to milk our cows this year. That was a huge investment. So, we are here for the long haul. I don't know about the Washington politics how that will play out," Whitcomb said.
Congressman Welch says the push is now on for Congress to pass a five-year farm bill, before this nine-month extension runs out.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-04-16 04:07:42 GMT
Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow. Rivers are spilling their banks, roadsMore >>
Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:08 PM EDT2014-04-16 00:08:37 GMT
Flood warnings are in effect around our region as heavy rains begin to move through. There is already localized flooding at some of the typical problem spots, like the wrong-way bridge on Route 15 inMore >>
Parts of our region are already flooding and others are bracing as heavy rains move through. Not only is rain falling fast, but warm temperatures Monday melted snow, adding to high waters.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:06:00 GMT
A man had to be pulled from the Black River in Springfield Tuesday morning. The Hartford Fire Department says it's working to pull a man out from the river. They say he got stuck about 75 feet out inMore >>
Vermont emergency workers have rescued a man stranded in the middle of a treacherous section of river in downtown Springfield. More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-04-15 21:02:17 GMT
The sex crimes trial of a former prison guard has been delayed. Jury draw was scheduled to begin Monday for Richard Gallow. He is charged with sexual assault and lewd and lascivious conduct on a femaleMore >>
The sex crimes trial of a former prison guard has been delayed.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:27:17 GMT
Arson at the Albany Fire Department was an inside job. On Tuesday former firefighter Elmer Joerg pleaded no contest to setting the blaze. Investigators say the former volunteer was caught on camera settingMore >>
An arson at the Albany Fire Department was an inside job.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:26 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:26:03 GMT
There was a plea deal for a man who triggered a 5 hour standoff in Newport last fall. Derek Niles pleaded no contest to reckless endangerment Tuesday. He got a deferred sentence and will be on probationMore >>
There was a plea deal for a man who triggered a 5 hour standoff in Newport last fall. More >>