No Farm Bill agreement would bring higher food prices

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GRAYSON CO, TX-The highly contested Farm Bill is back on the table in the House and Senate for further discussion almost a month after it expired. Area farmers are concerned that if lawmakers don't come up with an agreement soon, everyone will start feeling the effects.

The U.S. Agriculture Secretary said if lawmakers don't reach an agreement on the Farm Bill by the end of the year, food prices will skyrocket. That's why both farmers and consumers we spoke with ask for legislators to find a solution fast.

Marion Morgan went grocery shopping Tuesday and said food prices are already high.

"It's a trade off, you know? You pay for what you get basically so it cost a little more," she said.

According to the USDA, more than 300 million Americans, like Morgan, might have to pay more for groceries if the U.S. House and Senate can't come up with a deal on the Farm Bill by the end of December.

"It's sad for us consumers. We need to have legislators that will not just be putting forth their own personal agendas but actually defending us, the consumers," said Morgan.

Farmer and rancher, Ben Wible, said if the Farm Bill is not renewed, he and millions of other farmers could lose disaster assistance and other funding provided by the current bill.
He said many would have to sell off their herds and harvest their crops sooner, which could lead to a possible food shortage and that's when the prices would jump.

"Every animal that disappears, especially if it's a cow, that means there's less calves in the next 2-3 years. Anything like that can cause a problem," he said.

If Congress doesn't reach an agreement by the end of the year, the U.S. will default into its last permanent farm bill issued in 1949--which encourages smaller crop production and higher consumer prices.

And Wible said that move would hurt producers and consumers alike.

"You can have all the land you want but you can't plant any more than 15 acres or you'd lose your government support in any kind of government program. It's ridiculous, it just can't happen," he said.

The USDA also predicts that the price of milk may also go up, in fact, double, if a new or renewed farm bill fails to pass by the deadline. Because the current bill's dairy supports will expire at the end of the year.

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