|WCAX: The future of farming in Vermont|
|Friday, 12 August 2011 00:00|
The future of farming could be in this 4-H barn, where a 4-year-old says he wants to be a farmer. Getting a handle on a heifer starts young.
Some here live on farms. Many do not-- but they have relatives that do--so finding a calf to cuddle up with for the summer is easy. Lucas and Hailee Allen of New Haven don't live on a farm, but they like being on a farm.
"Yeah, it's fun," they said.
Fun for all ages.
AnnaJo Smith, 18, is one of those who wants to stay in farming.
"I would never be able to let the family farm go away. It's just something personal for me," said Smith, who is president of the FFA Association.
Smith's dream may depend on what happens in Washington, D.C.
"The peaks and valleys are getting higher and lower and the valleys longer is threatening the farms. You know that," said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont.
Vermont's voice on the Agriculture Committee is Congressman Peter Welch. He updated farmers at the Addison County Field Days on talks in Congress that could lead to a new pricing system. One proposal includes a supply management plan or quota system.
"How we do that so there is real cooperation on the part of big farms and as well as small farms. The way it is written right now the folks up in St. Albans we have got to make some adjustments because the big farms could just roll through that," said Welch, D-Vermont.
A quota would limit the amount of milk farms could produce. The goal is to eliminate the chronic oversupply of milk that pushes prices down and leads to a boom and bust cycle. But putting production quotas in place will require cooperation from farmers all over the country. Something that's been rejected in the past.
Today current prices paid to farmers are considered good but are being offset by high feed and energy costs.
The current price is $1.85 per gallon. That's 46 cents more than last year at this time.
Vermont's 200 organic farmers are getting paid $2.41 cents per gallon. That's the same price as last year at this time.
But farmers say the price they are paid can change on a dime, making it hard for them to plan and also making it a challenge to get the younger generation committed to a career in farming. Finding one payment system that fits all will not be easy.
"You need to watch out for what is the best interest to all farmers, big and small," Smith said.
No easy solution for those who will be deciding how much farmers get paid for their product.