Could South Georgia Farmers Doom the Farm Bill?

The Senate is considering the “Farm Bill” this week, which will impact basically everybody’s life far outside the realm of food and farming. Oh, and it will cost nearly $1 trillion over 10 years.

However, a series of reports from National Public Radio NPR and Georgia Public Broadcasting suggest that farmers in the South aren’t happy with the bill.

On “Weekend Edition Sunday”, NPR spoke with Oglethorpe, Ga. peanut farmer Donald Chase who describes the biggest reservation for Southerners.

“This program favors Midwestern corn and soybean farmers,” Chase says. “It doesn’t even favor me as corn farmer in Georgia, because our county average yields are set so low that I’ll never file a claim if we go to an insurance-based program.”

 

Basically, as I understand it, the government currently supplies direct payments to farmers to provide a source of income in case drought, disease, disaster or what have you strikes crops. But, the government wants to switch to the previously-mentioned insurance-based program.

The price farmers can get is also an issue. Row crops, including corn, are based on the commodity markets. But the price of peanuts — a major crop in the South — is based on what the three major shelling and processing companies will pay. So Chase says if there are no government price supports, more farmers could decide not to plant.

“There’s nothing that sort of evens out the ups and down in the market, and it becomes very volatile,” [Chase] says. “And for me, I’m thinking this is getting risky.”

About half of the country’s peanut crop comes from Georgia.

Today, Josephine Bennett of GPB did something of a followup. She spoke with Congressman Austin Scott (and others, but I can’t find the text, haven’t re-listened to the audio and don’t  fully remember the story) about some of the political machinations w/r/t the bill. Cong. Scott said he does not support the bill. He points out the Agriculture Committee (of which he is a member) has a strong Southern makeup, with 14 of its 46 members hailing from Dixie.

It appears the Farm Bill is off to a “rough start” and Saxby Chambliss is one of the Senators opposing the bill. 

6 comments

  1. Dave Bearse says:

    “This program favors Midwestern corn and soybean farmers….”

    It’s an election year. Check an electoral vote map. Midwestern Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio are in play. Georgia’s in the GOP’s pocket.

    • cheapseats says:

      yep, what I’ve been saying for a while – when your state is dominated by one party then, nobody needs to give you any loving to keep you around.

      Solid red = safe to ignore

  2. saltycracker says:

    The “Farm Bill” appears to be a trillion dollar tug of war between folks wanting to tell us what to eat, food stamp programs, agri-industry subsidies, political influence and crop insurance. About as laughable as educational bills being about the children. Winners and loosers selected by Congress.

      • saltycracker says:

        We’ll be ag’n it until we get a fat deal for peanuts at the expense of Michigan asparagus growers, then we’ll be for it as a small piece of the pie is better than nuthin’…..
        (pie defined under Thurs reads)

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