South Gets Legislative Boost

Southern farmers can expect a legislative boost this session thanks in part to the selection of Mississippi Senator Thad Cochrane to head the Senate Agriculture Committee.

During last year’s farm bill debate, many Southern farmers and ranchers expressed displeasure at what they perceived to be unfair treatment given to Corn Belt farmers. The Senate farm bill, for example, was seen as unnecessarily destructive to Southern interests (particularly the elimination of direct payment subsidies) and the proposed crop insurance portions of that bill were seen as too directed towards Midwestern corn farmers.

Some experts believe that history will not repeat itself and that Southern farmers may get a different deal this year.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the Mid-South and South will have more influence than they had (in 2012),” said Joe Outlaw, Texas A&M agricultural economist. “If you watched the hearing and mark-up process for the (farm bill) last year, it was one where a lot of the Southern interests were basically left quite unhappy.

“When they finally conference two bills, I think there will be a lot of changes from what either (of the earlier bills) contain right now.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer