by Phil Prazan
The fiscal cliff debate isn't just about tax policies. In fact, the gridlock in congress is holding up crucial bills that will determine everyday life in America and especially here in Iowa. The lack of a five year farm bill could have major consequences for the country.
The major thing here is the un-certainty. When the farm bill has policies worth $100 Billion a year, that's a lot of question marks.
The majority of the bill is made up of nutritional policies that includes assistance such as food stamps.
But lumped in there are the policies involving credit for farmers, price assistance and international trade agreements for U.S. crops.
If nothing is done the policies default to what they were in 1949.
And once again the story here is the need to compromise.
According to the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, the Senate proposed a bill with $23 billion of savings over ten years and a House committee idea would save $33 billion.
A lot of the fight in the middle is how much to cut back on food stamps and other assistance programs.
"We've never gone this long at the expiration of a farm bill since we've had the first farm bill. This is new territory so it's not only uncertainty, it's significant uncertainty," says Dave Miller from the Iowa Farm Bureau.
If nothing is done by the end of the year milk prices will be the first product to drastically increase.
If that happens the USDA can buy the product and re-sell it at a cheaper price.
But that would just be a band-aid for a limited time and we would be in un-charted territory regarding policies.