Georgia Governor Saxby Chambliss warned farmers to brace for major subsidy cuts and the elimination of direct payments in the upcoming farm bill. The loss of direct payments could be a major blow to Georgia farmers, who disproportionately favored keeping such programs.
For the past several months, farmers have speculated on the end of direct payments. However, with Congress dragging its feet on passing a new farm bill, speculation was all many farmers had to go on. Now that the House and Senate are holding farm bill hearings, and now that major agricultural politicians have declared the end of direct payments, farmers are facing the reality that direct payment subsides, long a staple of the agricultural sector, are about to be eliminated.
Many Georgia farmers are particularly unhappy at the loss of direct payments. The cotton and peanut industries, both major parts of the Georgia agricultural sector, preferred maintaining direct payments as a crucial part of federal farm subsidies. Both industries have grudgingly accepted crop insurance programs as a replacement to direct payments. However, leaders of both industries are worried about relying almost entirely on insurance programs to protect farmers’ revenues.
Governor Chambliss, however, is adamant that he won’t fight for direct payments. “Direct payments are a thing of the past,” the governor bluntly stated. He, along with other farmers, are more concerned with strengthening crop insurance and protecting agricultural research funding, both vital parts of the larger farm economy.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer