2012-03-14 / Farm & Ranch

Local farmers hoping to hang on to crop insurance in next farm bill

(Jourdanton) – Last year, farmers in Atascosa County saw drought and record heat take their toll on their crops. The only thing standing between many in the area and total devastation was crop insurance and other safety net programs.

“When you have a year like we did last year, all you can do is prepare for the next one,” said Pete Pawelek, a peanut and cotton farmer and beef cattle producer and Atascosa County Farm Bureau Secretary/Treasurer. “We know budget cuts are coming to the next farm bill, but crop insurance is one safety net that allows us to keep growing food and fiber.”

With Congress unable to reach an agreement over a deficit reduction strategy, some fear passing a farm bill of any kind could be a tall order.

Crop insurance could become another casualty of deficit reduction and bargaining as premium costs increased by $4.7 billion in 2010 to $7 billion in 2011. Farmers like Pete Pawelek hope that legislators will understand the significance of an agriculture safety net to the overall economy.

“There is no other industry with a higher risk factor than farming,” Mr. Pawelek said. “It’s in our blood and we do it because we love it. Safety net programs let us continue to provide income for our families and food on America’s table.”

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