Expected cuts in Farm Bill will affect Georgians

A large crowd attended the Farm Bill forum prepared with questions and comments / Sarah Bleau

The Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture says it's time people learned the whole truth about the Farm Bill.

"When you have a farm bill those are the funding mechanisms for the future of the u.s. department of agriculture, that means the meat that you eat, the eggs you eat, you have to insure the safety of them through our inspection services," says Gary W. Black, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture.

He says many do not realize that 80 percent of the Farm Bill is nutrition programs.

"Food stamps, school nutrition: All of that is roped into the total cost of a Farm Bill," says Black.

Black says he wants to see the continuation of programs like this and the addition of more programs bringing organic food to schools in the bill, but Sen.. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) says the bill actually faces more cuts.

"Every federal agency is going to be asked to pay their fair share when it comes to reducing the deficit. Our country is in serious financial trouble," says Chambliss.

He says programs that can't be justified financially are first on the chopping block.

"Our farmers where whether you grow peanuts, cottons, corn, soy beans... you've been used to getting direct payments based upon your base acres that you farm. That's no longer going to be the case," says Chambliss.

The STEP 2 and countercyclical â" or safety nets in case of low crop prices â" cotton programs won't be included in the Farm Bill renewal either.

"It's going to be more of a revenue type program, more of an insurance type program. Peanuts is going to be a little bit different, it'll be somewhat the same but won't be exactly the same type of cyclical program that we've had," says Chambliss.

For now, programs that affect consumer protection and nutrition may escape the cuts.

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