Potential Problems Ahead for Peanut Producers

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Roughly 75 percent of America's peanut supply comes from farms in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. But, proposed changes to the Senate's Federal Farm Bill could effect the livelihood of local peanut producers.

Legislative changes to the bill attempted to make it more generic. And, because peanuts are a specialty crop, Michael Davis, a peanut farmer and the Florida representative to the National Peanut Board, told us the bill could have major implications.

"We have different requirements" he said. Our costs are higher, we have to have more specialized equipment. So the farm bill that works in the Midwest where they grow corn soybean and grain doesn't necessarily work for the Southeastern peanut and cotton growers" Davis said.

But that wasn't the only issue farmers had with the bill. It could also threaten producer's security by excluding the price supports that protect farmers during times of severe market swings. It's a provision that had been untouched for years until now.

"Without that safety net, farmers are truly in jeopardy. You don't know from year to year, because of the inclimate weather we have so often, whether you'll be able to produce a crop, pay your bills and essentially, stay on the farm" said Ken Barton, the Executive Director of the Florida Peanut Producers Association.

But, the House's version of the bill included safety nets and provisions for peanut farmers. Both bills will be sent to a conference committee for a final draft.

"We're hopeful with our strength on the House side we'll be able to maintain some of those provisions for peanut farmers" Barton said. The final version is expected to be drafted by September.

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  • by Dave Location: Marianna on Jun 10, 2012 at 06:43 AM
    If the farmers can't compete, let the do something else for a living. Why should the taxpayers support the farmers? MORE WELFARE! Prices always seem to go up when we have bad weather, but they rarely go back down, when its good.
    • reply
      by Dave C. on Jun 11, 2012 at 01:47 PM in reply to Dave
      Let them do something else??!! Do you like to EAT??!!Hope you have a garden large enought to sustain yourself for the year!!! And I'm sure that cow would fit very nicely in your back yard!!
  • by Great instincts Location: New hope on Jun 9, 2012 at 12:34 PM
    Um, excuse me. The bill is being brought to the floor of the senate for debate by a 90 to 8 votes. This means Repubs AND Dems voted for it. Why such partisan comments when the bill provides 23billion in spending cuts- the republican mantra? Rather just blame the other side take 5 minutes and see what the bill is about, who is for it and then come to a reasoned conclusion. I guess that is asking to much in the sound bite world we are in.
  • by Mark on Jun 9, 2012 at 09:50 AM
    Our federal government does very litttle thinking before they get their tunnel vision going. They get one thing on their mind and give no concern to who it is going to hurt. The scarestiest words inthe Englishlanguage. "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."
  • by Anonymous on Jun 9, 2012 at 08:16 AM
    big government will shoot our farmers in the back.
  • by Dave F Location: Altha on Jun 9, 2012 at 08:07 AM
    I hope the farmers remember, on election day, which political party is in the majority in the 2 segments of the legislature, and which party is supporting them.
  • by jimmy Location: panama city on Jun 9, 2012 at 06:16 AM
    Next it will be tomatoes, corn, potatoes .peas. It's time for people to put a stop to the dorks in washington. If we let them in the near future a family of four will only be able to buy controlled amounts of meat,produce and anything else you can think of. People please wake up and smell the rotten eggs in D>C>
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