Sunday, August 12, 2007

Farmers Have Differing Opinions on Farm Bill

Champaign County Farmers, Eric Rund and Chris Hausman had differing views on the House version of the Farm Bill that was passed.

PESOTUM – Not even farmers agree on the legislation that governs their
industry. But as Congress considers revamping the farm bill, many agree that one
thing that should remain is help in bad times.
Eric Rund said he's disappointed in the House proposal for a new farm bill because it's more of the same.
Rund, who's changing his farming plans so he'll be in a position to
cash in on growing markets for energy crops, would like to see legislation that
would support alternative markets.
"The government should provide seed
money, not long-term subsidies, so we can develop markets and give industry tax
credits or loan guarantees so they can install new equipment," said Rund, who
thinks crops like miscanthus show the most promise for producing energy.
But he wants the government to keep a safety net in place.
"I was dependent on
the farm program until this year," said Rund, who plants two-thirds of his land
with corn because his travels in South America showed him beans can be grown
much cheaper there. That decision five years ago put him in a good position this
year to take advantage of ethanol-fueled corn market prices.
"Between 2000
and 2005, there were two years in a row when my net income was from farm
payments," he said. "This year, I'll get little if any. It's a good feeling to
rely on the market rather than a brown envelope that comes in the
mail."
Chris Hausman, who also farms near Pesotum, said he likes the
flexibility of the current farm program. "It gives farmers the freedom to make
changes based on market prices, and that's what farmers want," Hausman said. "We
want income from the market, not the government. But we need to have a safety
net to help all producers when yields or prices fall short."

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