LA SALLE - You walk through a canyon of corn stalks and get lost. It is the reason people visit the 13 acres that make up the Fritzler Corn Maze. The not knowing what is around the next bend in the maze is what creates the excitement.
"People like the challenge and it is a big puzzle in here. How do I get out?" said Glenn Fritzler, the corn farmer who operates the maze.
Farmers, like Fritzler, are dealing with their own maze of sorts right now. The United States Congress will begin debate on a new five year farm bill next week in Washington. For farmers and consumers, the not knowing what is around the next bend is a little frightening.
"Without the farm bill it is much like a maze. You don't know what's going to come around the next corner. You have no idea how to plan," Fritzler said.
The farm bill provides guidance to farmers regarding what to plant, how much to plant and the crop prices. The bill also includes the federal food stamp program and that is where a significant divide exists in Congress. A Senate version of the bill would slash $4 billion in food stamp funding while the House version cuts nearly $40 billion from the program.
Without the passage of a new farm bill by Jan. 1, 2014, food prices are expected to increase dramatically.
"You are going to see higher prices, because there is a chance we won't see as much product, especially in certain crops and certain products that farmers produce," DU professor Mac Clouse said. "We eat the products that the farmers produce, and as long as we eat, we need to know what is going to happen in terms of what is going to be produced, how much is going to be produced, and what the cost will be. It is going to affect us every day in the pocket books."
While farming comes with inherit uncertainties, the farm bill removes at least some.
"Farming is hard enough. You have weather you have to contend with, so there's a variable you don't know. You also have a market that you don't know, and the farm bill kind of levels things out just a little bit," Fritzer said.
If Congress cannot agree on a new five year farm bill by Jan. 1, 2014, the federal agriculture policy will revert back to the 1940s era law and price levels.
For more information about Fritzler Corn Maze, visit their website at : http://www.fritzlermaze.com/
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)