Congress passed a new version of the Farm Bill Tuesday that will create agriculture and nutrition programs for five years.
In addition to decreased SNAP benefits and increased crop insurance, a federal mandate will require Christmas tree farmers to add a 15 cent tax on all of their trees sold. The tax is an effort to increase the sale of live trees by raising money for a marketing campaign, similar to the “Got Milk?” ads.
Jan Cain is the owner of Woodcrest Farm Tree Farmers in Bedford and says the bill will increase their sales of life trees, but this demand will make it difficult to provide trees to consumers.
“For Southern Indiana growers it will definitely mean that our business will pick up and that we will be shipping more trees probably because we cannot now,” Cain said. “Most people in Southern Indiana cannot keep up with the demand.”
Kyle Cline is a lobbyist for the Indiana Farm Bureau and believes that the tax will be beneficial to farmers as long as they are willing to accept the tax.
“I would leave the judgement up to the tree farmers themselves, but I would say that in general that it is an opportunity to market and promote this industry and that product to the public and create more demand for the Christmas trees which is always a benefit to the farmers who are growing those trees,” Cline said.
President Obama will sign the Farm Bill into law today at Michigan State University.