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Of course we can’t predict what will actually happen in 2013, but we can look at what has come before and the indicators for what might be in store for us in the coming year.

We are experiencing a shortage of maple syrup in the world for example, due to last winter’s unseasonable warm weather. We’ll keep you posted on the syrup production this coming spring. We have been hearing too about a possible doubling or tripling of milk prices if congress makes certain changes to the farm bill, or fails to do anything, leaving it to revert to Truman-era price formulas.  

The following is from the Indy Winter Farmers Market newsletter this past week:

The Farm Bill and the “Fiscal Cliff”

You may be surprised to hear how proposals on the table in the House and Senate are putting forward drastic changes to the farm bill, such as radical cuts to SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (including food stamps), as well as devastating cuts to environmental conservation programs. We encourage you to follow the link to listen to this segment of Living on Earth, or read the transcript. If you feel strongly, please contact your representatives in the House and Senate to let them know your concerns. Your voice matters.

With farmland fast disappearing under the bulldozer of urban and suburban sprawl, it is up to us to change the trend if we are to continue to have the kind of food we value for many more generations to come. You can go to the American Farmland Trust website to see more about what is happening to farmland in our country and what you can do about it. You might also be interested in their take on the farm bill and how you can make your voice heard for a better 2013 for farmers, and for all of us.

On a lighter note, I read in the Sunday Star an article on what is trending in 2013. Physical fitness, health and spiritual well-being topped their list. Under the topic of “What You’ll Eat” they emphasized local, local, local — from farmers markets to restaurants and even farm-to-bar cocktails. I think this bodes well for the future. Even the Pantone color of the year is Green. Our society seems to be more and more conscious of the environment, healthy choices, and what is good for our local communities and economies. The world did not end in 2012, and perhaps there is hope for a brighter and a greener future.

Addendum: The following is the latest update on the Farm Bill.

Farmers Frustrated by Farm Bill Extension

By Jeremy Bernfeld, NPR, Jan. 03, 2013, 3:27 a.m.

Farmers and ranchers across the country expected to start 2013 with a new farm bill, the all-important legislation setting agricultural policy for the next five years. But the new farm bill got scrapped after more than a year of work when Congress passed the “fiscal cliff” deal, leaving frustrated farmers in its wake.