Peanut farmers may see reduced federal aid - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Peanut farmers may see reduced federal aid

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July 13, 2007

Colquitt -- Terry Pickle's been farming on South Georgia land for 22 years. A trade he picked up from his father.

He wouldn't be able to do it without sufficient federal aid. "It goes into the growing of the crop, equipment payments and this year diesel fuel payments," said Pickle.

But, the amount he gets from the government for growing his 450 acres of peanuts may drop next year. "If they take money away from fertilizer and fuel than they can lower it. If they reduce our production costs than they can lower our income," said Pickle.

With fuel prices going up and extra expenses from this year's drought relief; the cost of growing peanuts is only getting higher. "Everything we do is tied to petroleum," said Pickle. "So when fuel prices go up, everything we touch goes up. Fertilizer goes up. Diesel fuel is probably the biggest."

The Georgia Peanut Producers Association is doing all it can to keep the drop in federal aid from happening. "Several groups have gotten together and written letters endorsing basically a few changes. We would like to see most of the farm bill stay the same with a few changes, namely we need more money, " said Pickle.

Without a better safety net from the government, farmers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi may stop growing peanuts and move to a less risky crop.

The current farm bill could be extended for the next two years. Congress will decide on whether to extend the current bill or draft a new one this August.

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