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U.S. Senate Working On 2012 Farm Bill

June 13, 2012, 6:06 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

U.S. Senate Working On 2012 Farm Bill

The U.S. Senate is debating the 2012 Farm Bill and its 240 amendments over the next few weeks.

The Farm Bill is reauthorized every five years and contains policies that will affect farmers and ranchers for the next five years.

The version of the bill being considered by the Senate right now is $23 billion less than the last bill.

Many of those savings are being found in the programs that help protect farmers against losses, specifically getting rid of direct payments.

Bridgewater farmer and South Dakota Corn Grower's President Mark Gross says farmers are trying to do their part to help out the country with the new legislation.

"We all realize that there are a lot of problems with the federal government right now and budget problems. We're trying to do our fair share," Gross said.

That fair share is coming in the form of cutting $15 billion worth of farm programs which includes direct payments to farmers.

U.S. Senator John Thune says they are eliminating the payments and crafting a better crop insurance program in the new bill, partly at the request of South Dakota farmers.

"That's what they told me over and over was the most important thing in this Farm Bill was a good strong crop insurance program, so we worked very hard to have a good strong crop insurance program in the bill," Thune said.

Gross and the South Dakota Corn Growers believe it's a move in the right direction because crop insurance can be a valuable asset with South Dakota's climate.

"That's where it helps South Dakota the most is that when we do have problems and have losses it's there to kick in as our safety net," Gross said.

While South Dakota farmers continue their summer chores to make sure they have a crop to harvest in the fall, they are counting on Congress to make sure a Farm Bill is passed to provide that safety net.

"That's where we just trust that our people we elected to go to Washington do their job too and just get the Farm Bill done for us in the fall so they can have certainty that there is a Farm Bill and protection with crop insurance," Gross said

Thune is hopeful the Senate and House will be able to agree on a new Farm Bill before the current one expires on September 30th. If they don't the old farm bill will continue which costs billions of dollars more.


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