SHELBY SAYS FARM BILL VOTE LIKELY BY MONTH'S END
The farm bill is likely to be reconsidered when Congress reconvenes later this month, but Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said significant changes will have to be made to the bill before it gets his support.
Sen. Shelby is conducting town meetings around the state, and on Monday he was in Fayette County. Several farmers were at the meeting and urged the senator to pass the farm bill as soon as possible when Congress goes back into session on Jan. 23.
Sen. Shelby said he and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., didn't support the farm bill considered by senators shortly before Congress recessed in December. He said while there were elements of the bill he liked, portions of the proposed farm bill gave too much consideration to farmers in the Midwest.
Fayette County Farmers Federation Board Member Ronnie Lawrence told Sen. Shelby that farmers can't survive if low commodity prices continue. He also encouraged Sen. Shelby, who serves on the Senate Energy Committee, to focus attention on renewable fuel sources derived from agricultural products.
Alfa Farmers President Jerry Newby said it's important for farmers to contact senators and congressmen to encourage quick passage of the farm bill.
"Quick passage of the farm bill is imperative so farmers can plan for their crop and secure financing," Newby said. "A strong agriculture safety net is not only vital for our farmers but also for the economy and security of our entire nation."
USDA officials have said that without supplemental assistance, farmers' income would be reduced by 20 percent this year.