Arkansas farmers are a step closer to having some certainty about what they might be paid for crops this year, as the U.S. Congress works out a deal on the so-called Farm Bill. House and Senate negotiators came to an agreement on a farm subsidies bill Monday.The measure would cost about $100 billion per year over five years.
The proposed bill would expand insurance payments to farmers in years when they have bad crops, while eliminating the direct payment program, which pays farmers whether they plant crops or not.
Beau Bishop of the Arkansas Farm Bureau said insurance payments will not be as beneficial to Arkansans as the direct payments. He said that's because farmers in Arkansas have the ability to produce a crop year-to-year due to good irrigation.
"Farmers are going to have to adapt," he said. "This is actually what they have made their living on, is adapting to change and taking into consideration what's out there now. It gives them the opportunity to plant their crops and produce a reliable food source for our nation."
The bill would also cut spending on the food stamp program 1 percent, or about $90 per month. Forty-seven million Americans currently receive food stamps.
The bill still needs to be passed in both legislative chambers and signed by the president.