Farmers hopeful for beneficial peanut bill - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers hopeful for beneficial peanut bill

January 19, 2006

Albany -- Georgia farmers are watching Washington D.C., to see what changes could be in store for the Federal farm bill in 2007.

Some South Georgia Peanut farmers believe they'll lose some government support, but they hope the bill will continue to provide them "a safety net."

South Georgia farmers look over the latest products at the Georgia Peanut Commission Farm Show. Changes in the Farm Bill that could come in 2007 was a big topic of discussion.

Irwin County farmer Armond Morris said "We got to push for better, let's say markets or money for our peanut farmers to stay in business." Agriculture is Georgia's number one industry,and peanuts are the top money crop in South Georgia.

The entire region's economy could be greatly affected by Farm Bill adjustments. "So you got to look at the numbers of people and jobs that are affected here," Morris said.

Farmers say the 2002 Farm Bill has not been perfect, but they hope there is no radical surgery to its payment limit structures. Georgia Peanut Commission Washington Representative Bob Redding said, "Peanuts, cotton and rice primarily did not change. We look for that to be another battleground area for us in the 2007 bill."

Family growers will lobby politicians for a Farm Bill that keeps them in business for themselves, but protect from losing everything if the harvest is bad.

Redding said, "If we are going keep farmers producing food products, you'll have to have some safety net or floor."

Georgia has had three outstanding peanut crops in a row, but farmers say it gets tougher each year to turn a profit. Several farmers pointed out that attendance at this year's Peanut Show is much lower than ten years ago, saying it shows how many people have quit agriculture in South Georgia.

Farmers are scheduled to lose federal funding to pay for storage of their crops in 2007.

The Georgia Peanut Commission says that could cost farmers about $47.00 more a ton.

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