Illinois Farmers Have Much at Stake in Farm Bill

January 03, 2012

This will be an important year for farmers in Illinois and the rest of the country, as Congress hammers out the latest Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill covers everything from crop insurance to programs that help farmers limit pesticide use. No surprise - lawmakers this time around will be looking to cut.

Adam Nielsen of the Illinois Farm Bureau said direct payments to farmers are probably history. Those are subsidies the government paid to farmers even in times of high commodity prices like now.

"There was an enormous target on them and it was the desire of a lot of policymakers out here in Washington to eliminate them," Nielsen said.

But that is not the only thing likely to get slashed. Wes King is with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, which promotes sustainable agriculture.

"Conservation programs are going to take a huge hit," King said.

But King said he is hopeful the new Farm Bill will offer more support to organic farmers as Congress starts to take the sustainable food movement seriously.

Story source: AP