Southern Farmers Like What They See in Senate Farm Bill


WASHINGTON (AP) - Southern growers are optimistic about the farm bill that passed the Senate Agriculture Committee this week.

Like House legislation that passed in July, the Senate measure would largely continue price supports for commodity crops such as cotton, peanuts and rice that drive the region's agriculture economy.

A cotton farmer from Mount Hope, Alabama and chairman of Southern Cotton Growers Incorporated, Sam Spruelol, said, "We think it's probably as good a compromise as we could make."

Southern Cotton Growers Incorporated represents farmers in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Virginia.

Peanut farmers also said they were satisfied. Although the bill would hold peanut price supports roughly flat for another five years, it includes payments for storage costs in bad years.

It also would help farmers cover the costs of extending their planting rotations, allowing their soil more time to recuperate.

Specialty crop growers said the bill was more balanced than in past years. For example, they praised an expansion of the Agriculture Department's fruit and vegetable snack program in schools.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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