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Farm Bill Set to Expire, Concerns Some Miss. Farmers

By Daniel Cherry | Published 24 Sep 2012 06:09pm | comments
Ty Irby drives his combine, harvesting soybeans.
The current U.S. Farm Bill will expire in five days, most likely without an extension or a new version. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how that's breeding discontent among Mississippians in the agriculture industry.
 
On Ty Irby's farm in Leesburg, he's preparing his combine to harvest some of his 700 acres of soybeans. Right now, it's the thick of harvest season, and that's his top priority, but he says the inability of Congress to pass a new Farm Bill does cause some concern.
 
"Number one, the biggest thing on my mind is crop insurance. Without crop insurance, a year with a major loss could just about put you out of business...probably would put you out of business."
 
The Farm Bill is a massive, 5 year, nearly one trillion dollar piece of legislation covering everything from crop insurance, farm subsidies and, mostly, nutrition programs. Mississippi's 1st District Congressman Alan Nunnellee, recently told MPB, the hangup in the House is because about 80 percent of Farm Bill spending would go towards SNAP, also known as food stamps.
 
"There's this desire that if we're going to manage agriculture that we've got to deal with some of the nutritional programs, and because of that I'm just not sure that we can get the votes. That's what's got the Farm Bill in limbo right now."
 
The U.S. Senate passed a version of the bill earlier this year, but no bill has yet to come before the full House of Representatives. Randy Knight is President of the Mississippi Farm Bureau.
 
"It's one thing that farmers shouldn't have to be worried about. Washington needs to step up to the plate and do what they're supposed to do and get us a Farm Bill passed so we'll know what we've got and be able to provide that safety net to keep our guys in business."
 
Leaders in the U.S. House say they'll deal with passing a version of the Farm Bill after the November election.

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Ty Irby drives his combine, harvesting soybeans.


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