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New Farm Bill deadline approaches

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Albany/HV: New Farm Bill deadline approaches
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With New Years Day marked as the deadline, Congress still hasn't come to an agreement on all aspects of the Farm Bill. With a $97 billion a year budget hanging in the balance, those receiving SNAP Benefits and farmers across the nation wait to see what the outcome will be. YNN's Karen Tararache reports.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Hearty Roots Community Farm Owner, Ben Shute explains, "I didn't know when I was a kid I was going to be a farmer."

Now farming for more than a decade, Ben Shute manages 70 acres of land, providing fresh produce to people in a Community Supported Agriculture Program or a CSA.

"We have memberships that we sell on the farm and people sign up for the season."

As his harvest constantly sells, this farm consistently reaps the benefits, all while Ben is planning for the unforeseen.

"Maybe there's a bad year for insects that are bothering potatoes but in that same year we'll have a really great tomato year and so by offering that diversity of vegetables even if we have a problem with one or two things there's still fifty other things that we're doing a good job on."

But with the Jan 1st deadline for the Farm bill fast approaching, pressure is on the Senate and House to work out their differences.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary, Krysta Harden said, "Right now we're trying to get Congress to finish the Farm Bill and I think we're getting close but a lot of the provisions that have already expired in the Farm Bill these folks depend on."

For a farmer to maintain a certain level of access to federal funds, all five provisions of the Bill would need to be agreed upon, SNAP Benefits, Subsidy Payments, Crop and Price Protection Rights and Dairy laws.

"We had a great discussion here today with a number of farmers with issues that came up to make sure that we're doing what we can as the USDA to help these farmers stay in business and grow," Harden said.

The Shute family recently applied for a FSA Storage Facility Loan to rebuild this greenhouse. If the Farm Bill doesn't pass, that loan might have a tougher time at getting approval which means Ben's crops won't be as protected as he hoped.

Harden added, "Frankly there are some programs that could revert back to permanent law that could cause a lot of problems."

And if Congress doesn't reach an outcome, instead of celebrating 2014, Agriculture Law could revert back to the 30s and 40s and the price of dairy would skyrocket.

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