Farm Bill Needs Resolved Now: Indiana Farm Bureau Head

By Jeff Neumeyer

December 13, 2013 Updated Dec 13, 2013 at 7:19 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- We need a new farm bill, and we need it now.

That’s the sentiment expressed Friday by the president of the Indiana Farm Bureau, which this weekend is holding its annual convention in Fort Wayne.

It’s further indication that farm groups are losing patience with the wrangling in Washington.

The U.S. House and Senate continue to struggle with attempts to reconcile their differences over what the new bill should look like.

There’s at least the possibility it could cost consumers if something doesn't get figured out soon.

About 1,200 members of the farm bureau, the state's largest farm organization, are expected to show up at the two-day convention December 13th and 14th.

Christopher Steele of Decatur came Friday to look at some new product lines and exhibits.

The house and senate remain far apart on farm bill issues like the size of cuts to the food stamp program.

No deal by January first could drive milk prices up to $7.00 a gallon.

There is agreement in Congress on eliminating direct payments to farmers and farmland owners who don't grow crops on their land.

" We don't want direct payments anymore, we want to get our receipt from the marketplace rather than the mailbox," said Don Villwock, President of the Indiana Farm Bureau.

A number of farmers, including Steele, believe there is a growing disconnect between consumers and lawmakers on one side, and folks who invest their lives in farming on the other, and as a result, farmers don’t always feel the challenges they face are appreciated by mainstream society.

" The more and more generations that are removed off the farm, it feels like it's just a snowball. I mean, the lack of information, accurate information that they get, they are removed enough that they don't know where their food comes from," Steele said.

As for the threat of milk prices going way up, if the farm bill isn't extended by January first, we revert to a 1949 law that might force the government to buy milk at wildly inflated prices, which then figure to get passed on to grocery shoppers.

The good news, negotiations do seem to be making progress, meaning we could have a deal early in 2014, and sidestep a milk price disaster.

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