Owens Announces Funding for Meat Plant / MILC Program for Framers expires

Owens Announces Funding for Meat Processor in Essex County

 Congressman Bill Owens announces funding from the office of Rural Development for The Adirondack Meat Company and approval of a guaranteed loan of $900,000 in support of its proposed meat processing facility.  The funding will be used to construct a 7,500 square foot slaughterhouse inTiconderogaand purchase equipment for the operation.

Owens tells WNBZ  “This funding represents a tremendous step forward for this local business and for the farmers who will utilize the facility,” and He says  “By helping farmers move their products to market we can give them more opportunities to expand inNew York, and this new operation aims to do exactly that.”

The proposed operation will be the first of its kind inside theAdirondackParkand is expected to create at least 12 full time positions.

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New Yorkfarmers are currently without a Farm Bill… Dairy Farmer’s safety net is known as the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Program and it is now.  The House of Representatives allowed the 2008 Farm Bill to expire on September 30th and pushed off passage of the 2012 Farm Bill that would transition to a new safety net.  The new margin insurance program would give dairy farmers a level of certainty to know help is available for those who choose to take part in the program.

“There is enough uncertainty in the dairy industry not to have a safety net in place,” said Jefferson County Farm Bureau President Mike Kiechle who also runs a small dairy farm of about 100 cows.  He estimates the MILC money was about 10% of his milk check last month that he received for what he sold.

All of this comes at a time when dairy farmers are already facing huge hurdles.  From last year’s flooding to this year’s drought, feed prices are skyrocketing. Milk prices are also significantly lower.  In August, the average dairy farmer received $18.30 for 100 gallons of milk, which is $5.20 less than they received just one year ago. The expiration may leave some farmers with difficult decisions to make like whether to thin their herd or, in some cases,  decide if it is even worth it to keep farming.

“New York Farm Bureau has lobbied hard for passage of the 2012 Farm Bill with strong support from theNew YorkCongressional delegation. Farmers should not be political pawns.  The uncertainty in moving forward not only puts their way of life in jeopardy, but it also threatens the food supply of every citizen,” said Dean Norton, NYFB President.

If something isn’t done by January first, more impacts could be felt far beyond the farm fences. The federal milk pricing structure will resort back to “permanent law” from the 1940’s.  That means fluid milk prices would more than double forcing consumers to pay twice as much for a gallon of milk than they are today, according the American Farm Bureau Federation. It’s a price few would be willing or capable of paying potentially upsetting the delicate supply and demand of milk. In addition, a number of other Farm Bill programs important to all farmers and the people who buy their products would either be scrapped or underfunded.

 

NYFB has worked closely with the New York Congressional delegation, including Reps. Chris Gibson and Bill Owens who successfully helped pass a bipartisan bill out of the House Agriculture Committee, and we encourage a quick solution in the full House when lawmakers return after the November general election.  This should not be put off for a new Congress to negotiate next year that could result in even more cuts.  Hard working New York farm families deserve a Farm Bill now.

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