Proposed Farm Subsidies Cut

By: Rayne McKenzie Email
By: Rayne McKenzie Email

Farmers from Alabama and Florida are coming together to discuss the newest technology and innovations in peanut production. The trade show comes just one day after the Bush Administration released its proposal to cut farm subsidies.

This proposal has a lot of local farmers concerned.

While there are benefits to the plan, like making farmers in the United States more competitive, local farmers fear the changes might drive them out of business.

A Houston Co. farmer, George Jeffcoat said, "I would quit farming because I can't compete."

The Bush Administrations proposal to cut farm subsidies is causing some local farmers to contemplate changing careers. The proposed farm bill would not allow farmers with an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 dollars a year to receive government subsidies.

Farmers say there's one major problem with this formula.

"What they fail to realize is there are increased capital investments and where a farmer makes a little, a lot of money passes through him," said Randy Griggs, executive director of AL Peanut Producers.

Many farmers rely on subsidies during periods of drought when crop yields are low, to keep their farms operational.

Farmers say to stay in business these days, a farmer has to plant three times the acreage they used to. Farmers say the new proposal punishes farmers for planting more.

"It would be an insult to me to have that because it’s a small amount to a farmer with lots of acres," said Jeffcoat.

The current farm bill expires at the end of the 2007 crop year.

Farmers must have a lot of capital to start up their fields each year.

Because this new proposal only takes into account gross income, that's what a farmer makes before taxes and not taking into account what he has to spend, those farmers with enough money to buy say just one new piece of equipment costing $250,000 dollars wouldn’t receive a subsidy.

Farmers are complaining the new proposal would limit the amount they are able to produce, and inevitably would cause consumer prices to rise.

To read a complete copy of the farm proposal bill you can visit the Department of Agriculture's Website at www.usda.gov.


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