Legislature approves emergency farm bill

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(Host) Legislation establishing an emergency financing plan for some of the Vermont’s dairy farms has been signed into law by Governor Jim Douglas. Both the House and the Senate gave their final approval to the legislation Friday afternoon.

Sponsors of the proposal say the measure is needed to help farmers cope with unusually low milk prices this spring. The bill makes $20 million in low interest loan money available to farmers to help them with their operational expenses. The legislation also allows a number of farmers to postpone part of their existing loan payments for nine months.

Senate Agriculture Chair Sarah Kittell is the lead sponsor of the bill:

(Kittell) “I think this is important legislation. We talked throughout the session about what we can do with the crisis in the dairy industry and in Vermont agriculture. So hopefully with the industry stepping up to the plate, looking at the comprehensive look of our dairy industry we will be able to bridge the gap. So our farms will be able to make better plans and be more sustainable in the future.”

(Host) Backers of the bill say they’re optimistic that money from the program will be available to farmers beginning next week.

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