Reed Talks With Agricultural Council

Reed Talks Agriculture

Elmira (WENY) -- Farmers in the Southern Tier voiced a lot of concerns to Congressman Tom Reed today, and one of the main issues is to get a five year farm bill signed.

"We've got to have some kind of a farm bill, and we need it now," said Ashur Terwilliger of the Chemung County Farm Bureau.

Farmers say there's too much to lose without a bill.

"If the milk program is gone, if dairy loses, specialty crops will lose," said Terwilliger. "I think you'll see some small businesses go out. Some small dairies, maybe the bigger ones can hang on, but the small ones are going to be gone."

Dairy farms are seeing an increased demand for milk with the greek yogurt boom, but no funds to help meet that demand. And it goes beyond dairy farmers because New York growers say it has been a hard summer -- the drought decimated crop production. Farmers at the meeting also said state regulations -- on everything from expanding to making cheese -- are making it really hard to make profit.

"With agriculture being the number one industry in New York state, I am all ears as to input on how we can grow that industry," said Reed. "That's the voice we heard today loud and clear -- give us some certainty, give us some long term planning ability."

Reed said he's taking these concerns back to Washington. The Senate has passed a two year farm bill, but Reed calls that a "band aid" fix.