Southern peanut farmers remain resentful of the 2012 Farm Bill currently under debate in the Senate, with many farmers feeling that their regional crops are being slighted and their interests displaced by those of Midwestern corn farmers.
The farm bill up for debate in the Senate eliminates about $24 billion in agricultural spending. Many of these spending cuts come from reorganizing farm subsidy programs. Specifically, the bill eliminates direct payment subsidies, replacing them with strengthened crop insurance programs and price protection programs.
The new insurance programs, however, do not equally benefit all regions of the country, some peanut farmers have claimed. Peanut farming in particular requires specific attention because of the crop’s specialized structure and equipment needs, attention that is sorely lacking in the current farm bill.
Several Southern Senators have pointed out this regional bias, complaining that the current crop insurance and price protection programs merely transfer the majority of federal resources to Midwestern corn and soybean farmers. Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss also complained about the restrictive nature of the bill, stating that it “seeks to place a one-size-fits-all on every region of the country.”
While the farm bill has only just reached the full Senator floor, some Southern politicians are hinting that they may try to block the final bill if their concerns are not addressed. According to North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, “If the Southeast is not on board, there is no way you get a farm bill through the Congress of the United States.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer