Farm bill creating big changes for local farmers

Farm bill creating big changes for local farmers
Amarillo, TX - Local cotton farmers can expect to see some big changes with the new farm bill.

Until recently, whether cotton season was good or bad, farmers were able to get direct cash payments for their product.

Dr. Stephen Amosson with Texas Agrilife Extension Service in Amarillo explains how this will now be different.

"They are doing a completely different program and almost the entire thing is insurance based. They have what I call similar to the shallow lost program, which means if farm revenue falls below 90-percent to 70-percent, then they can get coverage under what we call the Stax Program."

However, Amosson adds, direct payments will not suddenly go away.

"Cotton being such a sever change, they are going to extend direct payments at a reduced rate for this year because of the lateness of the farm program. And then they could extend them another year. More than likely they will shift it in to the Stax Program, this insurance based program, starting 2015."
Even though these changes may be difficult for farmers to adjust to Amosson says our area will work through them.

"We will handle it in our area you know, obviously, we lose a little bit on income because we losing direct payments. In reality, you know, they can move in and out of crops depending on profitability, and that is what we want."

Amosson says A&M has been working on a computer program this last year that aims at simplifying the farm bill to help producers sort through the changes.