New Farm Bill will affect more than just farmers

GOLDEN TRIANGLE AREA (WCBI) – Mississippi farmers are paying close attention to conference room deals in Washington D.C.

With a couple of drafts of a Farm Bill on the table, some members of Congress hope to agree on what’s best – for farmers and everyone who depends on them.

The new Farm Bill is ready to go to a conference committee after both the House of Representatives and the Senate drafted their own versions.

Lawmakers will have to agree on one path moving forward.

Ag economist Keith Coble says the final bill will affect everyone from family farms to school children and a lot of others in between.

“Things that affect farmers directly, the commodity programs and crop insurance. They affect this university because there’s funding in there for research and extension activities. One of the bigger pieces of the bill that a lot of people don’t know about are the nutrition programs. So school lunch program’s, snap benefits, those kinds of things are also in the legislation and affect not just farmers but a lot of Mississippians,” said Coble.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has spent the last week touring the state, talking about the bill.

She says what farmers need right now is stability.

“Farmers want predictability. That’s what they want is something that they can have a guarantee a certainty on. That’s what we feel like we provided them in the Farm Bill because we deal with elements that other industries do not deal with such as weather,” said Hyde-Smith.

They need to hurry. The current Farm Bill expires next month.

“Some programs are going to just keep functioning as they always have. For example, crop insurance will just maintain the status quo. There are other programs that have expired or will expire, and there are other provisions in the builder problematic so will be a mixed effect,” said Coble.

Keith Coble says we should hopefully see a final version of the bill by the end of the year.

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