Producers say Conaway's Farm Bill benefits peanut, cotton indust

Producers say Conaway's Farm Bill benefits peanut, cotton industry

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The Western Peanut Growers Association honored Midland Congressman Mike Conaway and his dedication to agriculture in Congress.  

Conaway authored the 2018 Farm Bill. He chaired the House Agriculture Committee last session and managed a record vote for house passage.

President of the Peanut Growers Association, Tony Dill, said farmers were relieved when they heard the bill pass back in December. 

"We have to have that stability, to grow crops, to be financed by our banks," Dill said. "To have that security at the end of the year that we're going to be able to sell our crops."

Conaway said this law continues measures from past farm bills that have been working for the peanut industry. But, organic peanut farmer Zach Stone said decisions surrounding cotton are just as important.

"So with organic peanuts, we have to rotate and have different options," Stone said. "Cotton's been probably our best option."

By keeping cotton as a covered commodity, it is ensuring farmers are eligible for subsidies. 

"Crop insurance is a big deal that we need in case of disaster," Dill said. "So the crop insurance is something that helps keep us in business." 

Stone said it takes these bills to keep his farm up and running, despite what is happening overseas.

"Our biggest hurdle right now is the foreign markets," Stone said."There's fraudulent organics that are coming in, so that directly affects what we are doing here today."

Conaway said it is now time to see how it all plays out.

"The next time I'm out here it will be about how the implementation is going," Conaway said. "Are the things working the way we thought them to?"

He said they will then begin to look at what needs to be changed for the next bill.

As head of the agriculture committee, Conaway said it was crucial to make sure this bill passed, so it came with some compromises. He had to make adjustments to the SNAP program, title I coverage, and broadening the Environment Quality Incentives Program.

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