For dairy and organic farmers, Farm Bill extension not much help

Jan 23, 2013

Liz Graznak, who runs Happy Hollow Farm in Jamestown, Mo., is one of many farmers who may not re-certify her operation organic without federal support.
Credit Abbie Fentriss Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ranchers across the country expected to start the New Year with a new farm bill, the all-important legislation setting agricultural policy for the next five years.

As House and Senate negotiators worked feverishly at the turn of the year to come to a fiscal cliff deal, word leaked that the Agriculture Committees had finally come to an agreement on a long-awaited new farm bill. But the final fiscal cliff deal ditched new legislation and merely extended parts of the bill that expired in October. Jeremy Bernfeld reports the extension left many farmers frustrated.

Now, when Congress enacted that new Farm Bill, it cut virtually all the funding for organic agriculture programs while retaining billions in subsidies that largely benefit conventional farms. That means it may get a little harder to find affordable organic products in the coming months. As Abbie Fentress Swanson reports, that’s not sitting well with organic farmers.