Farmers React to Proposed Farm Bill

While pleased to finally see lawmakers making progress on the Farm Bill, local cotton farmers say that the new legislation also raises a lot of uncertainties for their industry.
by Victoria Price

CROSBY COUNTY, TX -- Lloyd Arthur is a lifelong farmer.

"I've been farming here since 1981, with my dad and my brother," he says. "It's a true family farm."

And according to Arthur, this new Farm Bill is long overdue.

"I think with them starting to make some progress, going to the House tomorrow, it brings some certainty to what rules we'll going be playing by in the next years to come," he explains. "It's nice to be out of a stage of limbo."

His wife, Angela, works in farming finance. She says now that farmers know what they can expect from the government, bankers can know what to expect from their farmers.

"It'll be much easier to present a cash flow to a bank saying 'Hey, this is what it's going to be like, this is what I can offer you'," she says. "'Can you work with me?'"

In an attempt cut $23 billion in federal spending, the Farm Bill would eliminate guaranteed payouts to cotton farmers. Any money they get from the federal government would depend entirely on crop insurance. And Arthur says that raises a lot of questions.

"Am I going have enough coverage? Too much coverage? Crop insurance is very expensive," he says. "My operation spends about $40,000 just on our share of the premium. Is that premium going to go up to cover the new portion of Farm Bill?"

So while this new system isn't without risk, Arthur says it's still better than having no bill at all.

"I think it's better knowing what's in a bill, even if there's things you'd like to change," he says. "Better than not having it at all and not knowing what's going to be ahead."


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