Lack of Rain Taken A Toll On Crops

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The Bush Administration is in talks with Congress to lower the subsidies farmers receive.

Wiregrass farmers are crossing their fingers and hoping for a better solution; or else, they may be finding alternative forms of work.

David Bell has been a farmer for 36-years and says a potential plan to lower subsidies for farmers could dig them into a deeper hole. "Between the weather, dry weather, the low program payments, it’s gonna’ hurt when you put it all together, it’s gonna’ hurt real bad," he said.

President Bush is calling on Congress to lower subsidies farmers receive for the new farm bill.

What does this mean for farmers? Downsizing and even finding other work.

Bell adds, "Some of the older ones are getting just tired of it; their quitting. Some of the younger ones are getting out of it; they have tried it and there's not enough profit in it, they’re quitting."

Randy Griggs with Alabama Peanut Producers says many factors have contributed to the budget cuts. "This year, with the war and entire situation, there's a lot of pressure to cut costs and squeeze programs where they can," he said.

For David Bell, he just hopes everyone can meet in the middle and continue farming.

Griggs says along with a balanced security net, he would also like to see incentives for growers and add more marketing.

The Senate Agriculture Committee is meeting this week to discuss the budget.

Griggs says he hopes something is finalized by Thanksgiving.

Harvesting this season took a late start, partly because of the drought and poor conditions.

Many farmers have to pinch their pennies because of the low profits and some are even quitting the farming business entirely and finding new occupations.

Farmers say the peanut crop has about two weeks left in the season.

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