Farmers Wait for Clarity with New Farm Bill

Many farmers in our area are waiting to see how the 2008 Farm Bill can benefit them, but they won't know until President-Elect Barack Obama's Administration takes over.

The Farm Bill affects more than just farmers, the current bill is basically on hold, and some agriculture experts say it's wasting tax dollars and affecting the food supply.

The 2008 farm bill was passed by congress six months ago.

But today the Farm Service Agency still hasn't finished the language on some programs.

"We really don't know how it's going to play out yet because the devil's in the details. FSA's still trying to work those out," said Dr. Stephen Amosson, an economist with the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension.

The Farm Bill was thousands of pages and very complex, but now there's a delay coming from the White House.

"It's complicated but mainly it is the changing of the administration and changing of leadership in all these organizations," said Dr. Amosson.

Farmers are specifically waiting for clarity in crop insurance programs.

"There will be certain appointees that need to be put in place so these can be administered," said Dale Artho, a Deaf Smith County farmer.

The political appointments won't be in place until late spring or early summer.

But farmers need to plant sooner.

"We're going to be planting crops with no idea of what's going to take place. But that's what we do. Either we plant or we starve," said Artho.

"Our consumers have to understand. It ensures we have a supply and keep those people in business," said Dr. Amosson.

Dale Artho says the perfect word to describe the situation is uncertainty.

While the AgriLIFE Extension is asking farmers to sit tight, until final decisions can be made.