The 2008 five-year farm law expired Sept. 30, with no new farm law in place. This means chaos in agriculture, and guaranteed food shortages amidst the weather extremes. The Obama Administration is presiding over this crisis in complete accord with the intent of the expiring British imperial financial/commodities system: depopulation and destruction of nation-states. Hardest hit is the entire U.S. dairy sector. In California, the foremost U.S. milk-producing state, and one of the world's largest dairy centers, it is expected that 25 to 30% of all dairy operations will cease over the next 90 days!
Technically, without a new farm law, U.S. farm policy today reverts today, to what is called permanent law, that of 1949. That was a post-World War II, partial-parity based law, in which the principle was still operative, to provide for national food security, through food self-sufficiency, with production controls and parity-based price-supports for farms. But there is no grounds to expect the Federal government to take this 1949 law, in effect by default, as a basis for action. Expect chaos and food shortages.
SNAP continues, the domestic food relief program called food stamps, remains in effect, because of prior stop-gap Congressional authorization this Summer for it to continue until March 2013. Likewise, the Federal payments for crop insurance (done by Federal subsidies to 15 major private insurance firms).
(Note: SNAP makes up 80% of the annual U.S. Dept of Agriculture budget, because so many people qualify for it, because they've been pauperized, more than 47 million at last count.)
But other critical agriculture programs are suddenly discontinued, such as MILC, Milk Income Loss Contract, the minimal price-support system for dairy farmers—the part of agriculture which is most dependent on intensive, long-term capitalization and activity, and which involves a very perishable product.
MILC has served as a weak safety net, but critical in recent months, because the "market" price farmers get for their milk, is below their costs-of-production, since animal feed prices have spiked, and Obama's Washington will do nothing. MILC expired in August, and a similar measures were included in the draft laws for the next farm bill devised in the Senate and House, but not enacted. Now the United States has a guaranteed milk supply disaster. Also consider that the level of U.S. current output is already below consumption. The difference is being made up by the mega-cartels (Kraft, Dean et al.) by reconstituting fake "dairy" products, from imported milk substances (fats, casein, etc.)
Since 2008, California lost 300 dairies; as of January, 2012, there are 1,668 remaining in the state, but hundreds of these are close to liquidating. They have already declared bankruptcy, but now are at the insolvency point, unable to get financing to continue.
Farm state leaders, regardless of political-partisan label, are all screaming in unison about the Federal morass all across the country. Two examples.
WISCONSIN. MILC "protects dairy farmers from low milk prices, and has enabled many family dairies to at least stay in business," is the description by Darin Von Ruden, president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, based in Chippewa Falls, in a guest column in the Chippewa Herald Sept. 28. "Farmers are left without certainty on important programs necessary to make business and planting decisions, especially when we're just coming out of severe drought."
MAINE. Jon Olson, exec sec of the Maine Farm Bureau, said that the farm law hold-up in Washington affects all state farming, but dairy is the hardest hit. Maine has 300 dairy farms, all family owned; and dairy processing plants. The Maine Dairy Industry Association Director Julie-Marie Bickford said that it costs Maine dairy farmers $28 to produce 100 lbs of milk, for which they're paid about $18. "Nobody ever imagined we'd see $8 for a bushel of corn or $4.30 diesel. MILC was the only program out there that recognized our input costs."