Nebraska Farmers Pleased With Farm Bill Progress

By: Morgan Demmel Email
By: Morgan Demmel Email

Time is running out for Congress to finalize a new farm bill. A version has already passed through the Senate, but the House Agriculture Committee is still in discussion.

As they listen to the farm bill debate, central Nebraska farmers say they like what they're hearing.

"Every four years it's a concern with the farm bill, what's going to happen or where they're going to go, but I think so far it's looking good," Doug Saathoff says.

Farm Bureau officials say the biggest change in the Senate's proposal is the elimination of direct payments.

Saathoff says those are an easy target.

"With the budget cuts and the budget the way it is, something had to go," Saathoff says.

But you won't hear central Nebraska farmers complaining.

"It's not something we rely on, by any means," Zach Hunnicutt says. "We've kind of been expecting it to go away for awhile."

Hunnicutt and Saathoff say it's a payment they can easily live without, especially if they're able to keep their crop insurance.

"That's been a real useful tool for us," Hunnicutt says. "It doesn't guarantee a profit or anything like that, but what it does provide is some assurance that we know we'll have something of a cash flow."

Saathoff says crop insurance is like a safety net that farmers need in order to manage their risk.

They're expecting to be able to keep that support in the new bill.

Even though the current farm bill expires September 30th, Hunnicutt says he's hopeful Congress will have a new bill in place by the deadline.

Farm Bureau officials say subsidies are just one small portion of the bill. The rest is dedicated to programs that support things like conservation, nutrition and food stamps.

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