Farmers aren't waiting on legislators -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers aren't waiting on legislators

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May 9, 2008
  Calhoun County -- South Georgia farmers are now planting peanuts and cotton, as the long debate over the Farm Bill drags on in Washington.

House and Senate negotiators finally reached a compromise on the $300 billion bill months after they should have, but The White House says the President will veto it.  

Calhoun County farmer Jimmy Webb is busy planting one of his biggest crops ever, more than 900 acres of peanuts and 1,200 acres of cotton going in the ground now.   Webb supports the proposed Farm Bill, which President Bush calls the bill "bloated", and says he will veto it if passed.

Webb said "I hope it passes the House and the Senate by a large enough majority that the President realizes he might go ahead and sign it."

 The White House says the bill has too many subsidies for wealthy farmers, at a time when crop prices are at record highs. Webb counters that more than 73 percent of the Farm Bill money goes to Food Stamp and Nutrition Bills, not farmers.  "It ought to be called the Nutrition Bill. We are just a very tiny part of it."

While commodity prices are at record highs, Webb points out so are farmers costs. Fertilizer and seed prices have tripled in three years. His tractor will burn 100 gallons of high priced diesel fuel in 12 hours of planting. Webb says every American should be concerned, because it's their food supply and national security at stake. 

"We need to be sure that we don't become dependent on foreign food like we are foreign oil. You see what's happened to our oil prices."

Webb has a thousand acres of corn, and almost 300 acres of wheat promising to bring him record prices, while he plants peanuts and cotton. He is hoping Washington completes the farm bill, but a good rain this weekend is of more immediate concern.

The White House raised the possibility of a one year extension of the previous farm bill, if lawmakers can't pass a bill the president will sign.