MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) — A leader in the mid-state agricultural community says Tennessee farmers are deeply disappointed in yesterday’s defeat of a massive federal farm bill.
Dr. Warren Gill leads the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Gill was giving a presentation to a farm group in Marshall County yesterday when word came down that a half-trillion dollar farm appropriations bill had been soundly defeated in the House of Representatives.
“That was a very disappointed group of people. There’s a lot riding on this for farmers. A whole lot of the support programs, the crop insurance, a lot of the cost share programs…things that farmers need to plan on are included in the farm bill.”
Farmers once had enormous clout on Capitol Hill, but commodity prices have been high in recent years and the farming sector has prospered in a down economy. Farm-state lawmakers have had an increasingly difficult time getting new farm bills passed.
Dr. Gill says the irony is that farmers will likely get to keep some federal subsidies through continuing resolutions that would have been trimmed if the new farm bill had passed.
“I think that they had pretty much decided that we (farmers) can back down on the amount of cost-share that we need. There’s so much optimism in the Ag sector these days that they were very willing to have a smaller package.”
Dr. Gill says the fact that the politically controversial food-stamp program has long been included in farm bills makes finding a compromise especially difficult.