Farmers concerned about new farm legislation

Florence, SC - FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) Farmers in the Pee Dee voiced their concerns on Wednesday to representatives of congress who are starting work on drafting a new farm bill in 2012.

Congressman John Spratt, and Collin Peterson, Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee and others held and open forum at the Clemson Extension office on Pocket Road in Florence. Spratt says the meeting is important so they can understand the needs of farmers before they start drafting the new rules.

The farm bill is rewritten every 5 years and effects farm payments, supplemental nutrition assistance programs, and international trade, among other issues.

"They're obviously very concerned about what the next farm bill will contain," said Representative Spratt. "We're a year or two away from the renewal of it, but that's what this meeting is all about."

Peterson told the group that because of the farm bill, Americans pay some of the cheapest prices in the world for food. He also says that the bill protects farmers, because it helps cover production costs for farmers if their crops are a complete loss to no fault of their own.

However, he says different areas of the country have different needs that have to be addressed.

"How do we make this farm program work for people in my area, people down here, it could be that we have a little bit different program for the south than for the north where we have some of these crops."

"The farm program has proved to be a success, most of them would tell you that today," Spratt added. "They want to see it renewed on basically the same basics that it exists today."

Lawmakers say they'll start writing the bill in May of 2011.