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Utah Farmer's Union: Farm Bill Delay "Ridiculous"

PHOTO: The Utah Farmer's Union calls congressional delay in passing a new Farm Bill "ridiculous." Image courtesy of the U.S. government.
PHOTO: The Utah Farmer's Union calls congressional delay in passing a new Farm Bill "ridiculous." Image courtesy of the U.S. government.
October 8, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Farmers Union is growing concerned that Congress, in letting the already-extended Farm Bill expire at the end of September, could hurt farmers in Utah and around the country.

Utah Farmers Union vice president Ron Stratford called the Farm Bill lapse "ridiculous," and said says farmers are critically dependent upon crop insurance and other programs linked to the Farm Bill. According to Stratford, banks will likely tighten up operating credit, which farmers rely on to plant crops, if there is any uncertainty about crop insurance.

It's "very frustrating when you have bills to pay, you have ongoing operations. You know, things that happen every year," the Farmers Union official said. "If you're not able to get the credit that you need, then obviously that's very frustrating, very stressful."

Crop insurance protects growers against crop losses caused by weather, disease and many other threats.

The Farm Bill is generally written for five years, more or less, and is broad "omnibus" legislation with many elements. The last Farm Bill was passed in 2008.

Meanwhile, Stratford said the anxiety level among Utah farmers over the Farm Bill delay is growing, like so many crops.

"It's absolutely ridiculous, they're playing games basically, and we're the guys paying the bill," he charged. "If you could put the farmers back there and let them be in charge for a little while, then I think we could get things done, but that doesn't seem to happen."

Stratford said Utah's biggest crops in terms of yield are alfalfa, wheat and corn, and noted that the state also has a good number of cattle and dairy operations.

The Utah Farmers Union website is UtahFarmersUnion.com.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT