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.
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:41 PM EST2014-03-07 04:41:04 GMT
The Randolph man who admitted to murdering his niece in 2008 will be sentenced this spring. In August Michael Jacques struck a deal with federal prosecutors. He gave up his right to an appeal and pleadedMore >>
The Randolph man who admitted to murdering his niece in 2008 will be sentenced this spring.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:40 PM EST2014-03-07 04:40:13 GMT
It's a real estate deal between UVM and the Queen City that could end up kicking some non-profits to the curb. The Burlington School District voted Thursday night on half of the multi-million dollar deal.More >>
It's a real estate deal between UVM and the Queen City that could end up kicking some non-profits to the curb.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:53 PM EST2014-03-07 00:53:09 GMT
'Tis the season-- as winter winds down frost heaves and potholes arrive. The ups and downs of the 2014 winter can be seen and felt. No route or road is spared. And just adding to the frustration-- theMore >>
The deep freeze is making for some rough roads across our region and it's also contributing to a fuel shortage. Shelby Cashman has more.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:56 PM EST2014-03-07 00:56:36 GMT
The pothole problem knows no boundaries. Our neighbors to the north are also dealing with rough roads. The Quebec Transportation Ministry budgeted $260 million for winter road maintenance. But crews haveMore >>
Our neighbors to the north are also dealing with rough roads.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 4:23 PM EST2014-03-06 21:23:33 GMT
Investigators now say a fire that damaged a student housing complex at St. Michael's College was not caused by the building's heating system. The fire last month damaged a row of townhouses. All of theMore >>
Investigators now say a fire that damaged a student housing complex at St. Michael's College was not caused by the building's heating system.More >>
Thursday, March 6 2014 4:50 PM EST2014-03-06 21:50:24 GMT
Vermont police say a New Hampshire woman was driving drunk with two kids in her car. The incident happened Wednesday at the Intersection of 1-91 and Route 302 in Newbury, Vt. Vermont state police sayMore >>
Vermont police say a New Hampshire woman was driving drunk with two kids in her car.More >>