People working in Georgia's largest industry are waiting as Congress struggles to pass a farm bill. The sweeping package of agricultural subsidies has been in limbo since the summer, when House Republicans voted to remove funding for the food stamp program, which has traditionally been a part of prior farm bills.
As long as Washington’s government shutdown continues, three key pieces of legislation affecting Georgia are stalled. And observers in Georgia worry how those bills will fare even once lawmakers move past the impasse.
Georgia U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop and 16 of his colleagues have re-formed the “peanut caucus” in the new Congress. It’s an effort to protect the peanut industry in Washington, especially with debate coming on a new farm bill.
The Farm Bill under debate in the U.S. Senate this week doesn’t just impact farmers. Eighty percent of its funds go to the program that provides food stamps. The Senate proposal would reduce funds to the program over ten years.
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss says Georgia farmers need to brace for big changes in government crop subsidy programs as Congress seeks to slash its debt. Chambliss told about 50 farmers at a forum Friday in Jesup he's certain the new five-year farm bill being negotiated will eliminate direct payments that go to farmers regardless of prices or yields. Alternatives such as crop insurance to cover revenue losses are being discussed to protect farmers.