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Local News

January 30, 2014

Farm Bill's progress pleases local officials

(Continued)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement Wednesday that New York has returned to its No. 3 position among milk producers nationwide was good news, Kiraly said. California is No. 1, she said, followed by Wisconsin at No. 2.

The previous Farm Bill expired in 2012 and lawmakers passed a short extension last year.

Instead of the Milk Income Loss Contract program, the new Farm Bill has a margin protection system that works like insurance, Kiraly said, and farmers decide on the level of protection to purchase.

“We have gotten rid of the antiquated Farm Bill,” Kiraly said. “What happened here is a huge compromise. I think that’s great that we have something.”

Barbara Hanselman, who has a family farm in South Kortright, Delaware County, agreed.

“As a dairy farmer, I am excited to see changes in the dairy policy,” Hanselman said Wednesday by email.  “I am a supporter of margin insurance — the world of agriculture has evolved to a global market with global influences, not just regional, state, or national weather and economy influences.”

The margin insurance program will provide a better safety net, Hanselman said, places responsibility on the producer.

“I am glad to see that our Congress has embraced the importance of compromise to get this bill executed, assuming that the Senate passes the bill that came out of committee,” Hanselman said. “The bill has a lot of cuts, and although some are critical of that, I uphold it because government has gotten too big — there needs to be more thought and responsibility in spending taxpayers’ money and improvement overall in all federal spending, including agriculture and feeding programs.”

Bradd Vickers, president of the Chenango County Farm Bureau in Norwich, said the legislation has been debated so long that farmers are grateful to have a bill. Emergency assistance in disaster situations and other safety net factors in the bill are welcomed, he said.

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