Congress Passes Federal Farm Bill

CHIPLEY, Fla. After operating without one for the last 5-months, local farmers now have a new Federal Farm Bill.

The bill covers a large range of issues, from food stamps to the amount of subsidies farmers receive for growing or not growing certain crops. Local growers aren't happy with some parts of the legislation.

It's been said that if farming were easy- everyone would do it. Those impacted by the 2014 farm bill say the new legislation certainly isn't making the job any easier.

Mark Mauldin is the Washington Co. Ag Ext. Agent. "Think about the amount of risk a farmer is taking on- cost of seed and chemical and fuel, labor-land rent. Land rent is one that get's left out of there a lot. Lots and lots of our farm land around here is rented land and that can be a very,very large cost.

One cost that, until now had been largely offset by the direct payment program- which has been cut entirely from the new bill.

"The old system, kind of as the name implied, there was a set amount per se for given crops- there was various ways that it was calculated and adjusted but pretty much there was a flat rate and the producers could count on it. Pretty much it was a risk management tool."

That system is being replaced by a shallow loss type planed focused on subsidized crop insurance. "When there is a loss below a set criteria insurance would then kick in. I mean, it's a huge piece of legislation it’s a pretty complicated program but, it takes away the guaranteed portion is what it amounts to."

President obama is scheudled to sign the farm bill into law by the end of the week. It's good for 5-years.

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