Congressman Peter Welch: House Inaction on New Farm Bill
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With House leaders refusing so far to take up a bipartisan 5-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill, Rep. Peter Welch is joined by Rep. Bill Owens (D, NY-23), Sheldon dairy farmer Bill Rowell, and St. Albans Cooperative Creamery general manager Leon Berthiaume and Bob Wellington, Agri-Mark. The current Farm Bill is set to expire on September 30, 2012. On July 12, the House Agriculture Committee, in a strong bipartisan vote of 35-11, approved a comprehensive 5-year reauthorization of federal agriculture programs that included key new protections for Vermont dairy farmers. In June, the Senate approved its version of a new Farm Bill which includes similar dairy provisions strongly supported by Senator Patrick Leahy, the senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Senator Bernie Sanders.
Instead of taking up the bill approved by the Agriculture Committee, the House of Representatives will take up a one-year extension of the existing Farm Bill which will reduce payments to Vermont dairy farmers under the current Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program.