A deal has finally been reached on a new farm bill, but it does not include a long-sought price stabilization program for dairy farmers.
The farm bill dictates a broad range of agriculture and food policies for the next five years. The old farm bill expired last year and negotiations on a new one stalled recently over deep political divisions over the dairy provisions.
In the end, a program aimed at limiting milk production did not survive. The bill does include an insurance program to help farmers protect themselves against volatile milk and feed prices.
"We do need a safety net, so when we have some of the price swings that can occur in dairy the dairy farmers have something to fall back on. Unfortunately, we're not going to get the full stabilization program that would have reduced some of that volatility," Vt. Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross said.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, was part of the negotiating team. He was disappointed the stabilization program was rejected, but was able to strike a deal to make sure the insurance program mainly benefits smaller farms. The full House and Senate still need to sign off on the overall bill.
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