Lower Aid for Peanut Farmers in New Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) - Peanut farmers would get lower price guarantees from the government under the farm bill that passed the House Friday.

But Southern lawmakers who represent most of the crop's growers were able to insert one provision that could help offset the loss.

The bill includes a "green payment" pilot program that would give peanut farmers a per-acre subsidy to move to a four-year planting rotation, allowing their soil more time to rest.

Most peanut farmers now plant every three years, substituting less
intensive crops in the off-years.

The bill authorizes $50 million dollars over five years for the program. Supporters say it will help farmers financially and boost their yields in the long run. It will also improve the environment by reducing the use of chemicals.

But they said much more money is needed to give farmers enough of an incentive to participate.

Lawmakers from Alabama, Georgia and Florida who helped win the $50 million provision said they would fight for more money as it moves through the Senate toward final passage.

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

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