Farm Bill Under Extension - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Farm Bill Under Extension

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Congress has until the end of the month to pass a farm bill before the current one expires.  But, that's not going to happen.
     
Some members of congress have already gone home for the holidays. Which means the bill can't come to the floor for a vote.

With the farm bill deadline approaching, some people are concerned about the possibility of milk prices doubling if a bill isn't passed by the end of the month.

"We all pretty well know that's not going to happen. That it's a long process, it takes a lot of time," says Representative Kevin Cramer. "But because that uncertainty exists we thought it would be prudent to pass a one month extension. Just to make sure that markers are calm and nobody panics."

But even though the Senate is still in session this week that extension isn't expected to pass. 

"There should not be an extension at this time but rather keep the pressure on to get it done in the first couple weeks of January," says Senator John Hoven.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp says Congress has been told milk prices won't double right away.

"We've been assured by the secretary of agriculture, Secretary Vilsack that this is manageable to the middle of the month.  So as long as when we first get back we pass a farm bill there should be no impact on milk prices," says Heitkamp. 

And the delegation agrees the bill that is expected to pass in January will be beneficial to North Dakotans.

"Most of what we need we've gotten. Like of course replacing direct payments with a more robust crop insurance program. That's very good, that's been everybody's goal," says Cramer.   "Substantial savings in commodity title which is good for the taxpayers, a little less government intrusion."

"And it's hopefully going to have funding for the energy title and it's going to expand some funding for rural development. All things that are critical for North Dakota," says Heitkamp.

The bill is expected to pass when congress gets back in January.

The conference committee is still finishing the details of the bill. Senator Hoeven is serving on that committee.

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