This is the last year for the current federal farm bill and a new one is in the works on Capitol Hill.
However, Alabama peanut producers are expressing strong disappointment in the bill for specialty crops that was recently adopted by a House sub-committee.
Peanut Farmer Sara Douglas sells produce grown on her farm in Kinsey.
She and her family farm veggies like okra and squash, but also row crops cotton, peanuts and corn.
Randy Griggs with the AL Peanut Producers Association said, “Expenses are high diesel in tractor cost; it’s $100 dollars just to fill up one time.”
It’s those high prices that have our congressmen in Washington trying to change the 2007 farm bill from the existing in place since 2002.
Griggs said, “What we've got to do is put money in our farmers pockets.”
Two ways to directly help farmers is raising the safety net or loan rate for producers. Or, changing the program to force marketplace to pay more for peanuts, which is being met with opposition from candy makers.
Griggs said, “It's a long process; even the Senate is looking for existing extension because one bad year is better than five bad ones.”
South Alabama producers see $150 million dollars directly from the sale of peanuts, not counting Georgia and Florida.
Therefore, the financial impact in the Wiregrass is phenomenal.
Griggs added, “When farmers have a slow year, farmers cut back on clothes, shopping and doctor visits.”
Douglas said, “I'd like to see our expenses come down and our income come up because our product is worth it.”
More money in the pocket for farmers could be possible through a revised bill for 2007.
At this time, neither the House nor the Senate has voted on the 2007 farm bill.
After both sides approve a new bill, it will go to the president's desk for his signature.
Griggs says he doesn't expect the Senate to schedule action on the bill until sometime this fall.
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