Sunday, September 30, 2007

Life for Peanut Farmers Changes Drastically in 2002

To show how much things can change from one farm bill to another, take a look at this story about peanut growers in Grayson County, Texas. Peanut used to be king there, but this year only 45 acres were planted. Most of these changes are attributable to the 2002 farm bill which significantly changed how supports were given to peanuts.

In a city that has paid homage to peanut farmers since 1965, the number of
peanut farmers in the Whitesboro and Collinsville areas has decreased. Where
peanuts once covered thousands of acres, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm
Service Agency is reporting 45 acres of peanuts this year. “That is not much at
all, compared to the thousands of acres that once covered Grayson County” said
Bert Darwin, executive director of the Farm Service Agency. “The 2002 Farm Bill
changed a lot of things for farmers. The Farm Bill took out the quota system
that made farming more profitable (for producers).” Darwin said that before the
2002 Farm Bill, farmers would receive a certain amount of money set by the USDA
for a set amount of crop. After producers met that quota, they sold the
remainder of their crop at market value, which wasn’t worth as much to the
producer.“Now it is just whatever the market determines,” Darwin said.

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