Fiscal Cliff is a Farm Bill Cliff, too

A week to go until the nation goes off the fiscal cliff. Taxes are the main focus of the debate, but a massive farm bill could fall victim to deadlock in Congress, leaving many in limbo. CBS News Correspondent Anna Werner talked to worried farmers in Texas:

“Drought is usually the biggest threat but the nervous talk in the drugstore now is about congress. Steve Balis is a pharmacist here and a rice farmer:

‘People are very nervous. They are saying what do we do. Its so uncertain right now that the banks don’t know what to do, the farmers don’t know what to do. They are out there planning and getting the land ready for next year with total uncertainty.’
 

At stake, $154 billion in federal farming aid and crop insurance sidelined by the fiscal cliff stalemate.”
 

Dairy farmers in Nebraska are worried that milk prices could skyrocket if Congress fails to pass a new farm bill by the end of the year. AP correspondent Shelley Adler reports.
 

“The Lincoln-Journal-Star reports that farmers say current milk prices of about $3.65 a gallon could double after the first of the year. One dairy farmer believes failure of congress to pass a farm bill would mean an automatic return to much higher milk support prices. Another Nebraska producer says such a jump in prices would drive milk consumption down and be devastating for the industry. Farmers say little information has come out from Congress about farm bill proposals and time is running out for farmers as well as consumers.”

U.S. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy told the Senate Friday that milk market chaos will erupt if Congress doesn’t prevent that 1949 law from going into effect in less than one week. He says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and his staff have been literally dusting off old paper files and mimeographed notes from the 1940s and 50s to review the Agricultural Act of 1949.
 

Acid Mine Drainage May Help Clean Water

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey say a byproduct of acid mine drainage treatment may be able to help clean agricultural and municipal wastewaters.
 

The study was done at the agency's Leetown Science Center in West Virginia. It shows that dried acid mine drainage sludge can be used as a low-cost adsorbent to remove phosphorus from wastewaters.
 

Officials say the technology can potentially help lower acid mine drainage treatment costs, prevent the degrading of aquatic ecosystems and recycle valuable nutrients.
 

Acid mine drainage is produced whenever sulfide minerals from coal and metal deposits are exposed to air and moisture. The resulting acid and dissolved metals are toxic to most forms of aquatic life. Untreated drainage has impacted more than 5,000 miles of streams in the Appalachian region.
 

Registration Open for the 2013 Joint Commodities Conference

The program and registration packet is now available for the 24th annual Joint Commodity Conference coming up January 17 and 18th at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Conference Center in Durham. The conference is free, with the exception of the awards banquet on Thursday night which is $20. For registration information and a look at the agenda, click here


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