Already facing plenty of uncertainty over fuel prices, odd spring weather and volatile commodity markets, it looks like farmers will also have to wait for the Feds to approve a new Farm Bill.
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) finds himself in the odd position of agreeing with Pres. Bush, who will likely veto the five-year, nearly $300 billion measure. Kind says it's tough to justify continued subsidies to farming operations that make millions of dollars already each year. He wants the Farm Bill to do more to tighten up those programs, so they help farmers as intended.
The White House apparently agrees. But Kind notes the battle is more regional than political, with powerful cotton and rice interests, as well as major farm family operations who don't want any changes in the current system. So, the result is a Farm Bill that Kind says pays already rich farmers that are already seeing record-high prices.
He says the Milk Income Loss Contract, or MILC program, is a much more honest "safety net" because it doesn't pay out unless prices drop. Kind says that's the way subsidies should work.
One change that could make the bill more palatable would be an elimination of some government payments to those who make more than $750,000 in farm income annually.