Peanut growers told to unify for Farm Bill - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Peanut growers told to unify for Farm Bill

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February 21, 2006

Albany -- A Georgia congressman says the South Georgia peanut industry must come together or the scheduled 2007 Farm Bill could be hard on growers.

Third District Congressman Jim Marshall, a member of the Agriculture Committee, told the Georgia Peanut Producers Association that agriculture needs to have a unified voice, or all farmers could lose when the 2007 Farm Bill is written. Marshall said "There is no doubt that there will be those who don't want to see a continuation of the Farm Bill. We are just going to all have to be together in Ag. We can't have a lot of fighting amongst ourselves."

Marshall said the 2007 Farm Bill could face budget cuts in Washington D.C., because of deficits, and a Congress dominated by representatives from cities and urban areas.

Peanut Farmers like Terry Pickle of Colquitt say a huge surplus of peanuts from last year is still in storage, and that will make it hard to get the price guarantee they need in the 2007 Bill. Pickle said "We are in a pretty good economic crunch. But we've still got to be looking to what's down the road. And this is a pretty big hurdle we've got to overcome. "

Pickle said that peanut farmers he knows plan to plant another large crop this spring, because the price support for peanuts is still better than corn or cotton can guarantee.

But Congressman Marshall says the worst thing that could happen is peanut growers , producers and shellers not work together. Marshall said "You come to Washington these days and you have divided voices, that just gives Washington an excuse to do nothing. Which is what Washington would prefer to do under these circumstances."

The Georgia peanuts Producers Association is raising money to lobby for the 2007 Farm Bill, saying that the state's number one industry could be greatly impacted by cuts in the program.

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