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Farm Bill Debate Worry Local Farmers

By Laura Bannon
By lbannon@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - The debate over a five year, $5 billion bill has many West Tennessee farmers concerned for the future of their business.

John Lindamood is a Lake County farmer and told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that as a farmer, he is exactly like business owners and should be treated like that. "We plan on capital investment and how many employees we're going to hire and where we plan our resources," said Lindamood.

The threat of unknown cuts from their budget worries farmers. "We really don't know what we've gotten and it makes it hard to go to the banker and present a budget plan and say this is what we need," said Lindamood.

Without a five year plan they are unable to make long term plans. Under this bill, farmers are guaranteed a specific amount of money, even if their crops do not grow as well. This makes planning for their upcoming growing season much simpler. Also planning on equipment and labor costs is simplified through this plan.

One problem on many farmer's minds is crop insurance and how much it will and will not cover. The unknown of the cuts in their budget make it difficult for farmers to anticipate the outcomes of a possible crop loss.

Eugene Pugh is a farmer in Lauderdale and Dyer County and explains how his business would be impacted by a possible budget cut in this area.

"If I sell cotton that I plan on planting in the Mississippi river area and can't get it planted because of overflow and have to put it into beans." Due to this, Pugh says that creates a problem because cotton has been sold and not beans. So it creates a surplus of cotton," said Pugh. "It's hard to manage that and it bothers me a bit."

Experts like Dr. Gary Adams, an economist said that cuts from the farm bill has a much broader scope and impacts all of the agricultural production as well as food distribution. This in turn, impacts us all.

"A stable and affordable food supply that ultimately makes a way to consumers we also look at scope of the farm bill. It impacts nutrition programs like food stamps and school lunch program those are all authorized under the farm bill," explained Adams.