Locals React to Farm Aid Expiring
Chemung County (WENY) -- Some local farmers say it's cut and dry -- Congress failing to enact a farm bill puts their livelihood in jeopardy. Major farm aid programs expired over the weekend, and a few local farmers say their safety net is virtually gone.
"I'm kind of disappointed it didn't go through," said Scott Bush, a dairy farmer in Elmira. "They knew they needed to pass that before they went on recess. I guess if my farm animals reacted like the people in Congress, I would have been out of business a long time ago."
After a tough year with feed and hay prices going up, farmers are now worried about being unprotected with farm aid programs expiring.
"It ends the MILC program, it ends so many things," said Ashur Terwilliger, president of the Chemung County Farm Bureau. "What does agriculture ask for? Just give us a decent farm bill -- we're ready to go. We're willing to stay out here seven days a week and work."
The MILC program subsidized dairy farmers when prices fell below a certain level. Without that and other programs, farmers -- especially dairy -- are very concerned about their future.
"It started out in the spring -- fertilizer prices, seed corn prices high -- then the army worms came through, then the dry weather, the drought," said Bush. "Now I'm dealing with Congress."
"Without a decent farm bill, I'm afraid of what's going to happen to a small family, especially dairy farms," said Terwilliger. "It don't look good, it does not look good."