The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

September 28, 2009

Senate votes to prevent "cow tax"

By Mark Boshnack

One worry for area farmers was laid to rest Thursday with the passage of the Senate's Interior Appropriations bill. It included a proposal _ introduced in March by Sen. Charles Schumer and others _ to prevent a "cow tax, " according to a spokesman for Schumer.

This came in response to a discussion last year by the Environmental Protection Agency to require dairy farmers to purchase expensive permits for beef and dairy cows because they emit methane, a greenhouse gas, said Schumer.

"I'm really glad," said Bloomville dairy farmer Barbara Hanselman when she heard the news. With farmers having to deal with low milk prices, "there are so many bigger fish to fry," she said.

Farmers were paid about $12.45 for one hundred pounds of milk in August. This was more than $7 less than a year ago.

"It's a relief" that it is gone, said Franklin dairy farmer Dan Buel. It was one of the "stupidest" ideas he had heard of and he still has trouble believing anybody was "foolish enough to consider it," he said.

The bill passed the House in June and is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama shortly.