Fate of farm bill leaves farmers with uncertainty - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Fate of farm bill leaves farmers with uncertainty

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CAMBRIDGE (WKOW) -- The Senate sent a spending bill to the President Saturday before adjourning. That bill avoids a government shut down, but Congress did not pass a farm bill. Farmers nationwide now hang in the balance.

Republicans in the House chose not to move on the bill, mainly because it includes the food stamp program. But it also includes disaster relief funds after a tough year, weather-wise, for farmers across the state and country. For one Dane County farmer, the crop insurance part of the bill is most important.

"With the extreme risks that we can have, from going from a bountiful crop to essentially have nothing -- to invest millions of dollars such as we do on our own farm here to grow a crop and produce milk for the public -- we need to have the assurance of an insurance program," Duane Hinchley of Hinchley's Dairy Farm in Cambridge told 27 News.

According to Hinchley, farmers may decide to plant less or grow more weather resistant crops to lower their risks. It could also push people out of the business all together. "Some folks, they're getting to the end of their career for a few years -- they might just up retirement by a few years," he said.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a statement Saturday that said in part, "U.S. agriculture is fighting to maintain the tremendous momentum it has built over the past three years, but with natural disasters and other external forces threatening livelihoods of our farmers and ranchers, certainty is more important than ever."

The current farm bill expires on September 30. The House is expected to take up the bill sometime after the general election.

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