WASHINGTON (AP) - Southern peanut farmers who produce about three-fourths of the nation's crop don't like what they're seeing in draft farm legislation that could determine how much cash support they get from the federal government over the next five years.
Industry leaders from Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi said in a letter to lawmakers this week that this bill would hurt Southeastern peanut producers more than any House bill farm bill since 1981.
They disagree with language that would keep government-backed price guarantees for peanut growers essentially flat, while eliminating a key storage subsidy that officials say is worth about 75 million dollars a year.
Without a better safety net, industry officials say, many farmers won't take the risk of growing peanuts and will turn to other crops.
Congress is debating a new five-year farm bill that would replace the existing 2002 law that expires this year.
With a tight budget, agriculture interests are scrambling to maintain subsidies and price supports for their crops and commodities.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)