Feb 10, 2014 11:20 PM by Steven Albritton
Rice planting season is only weeks away and with a new farm bill changes are in store for rice farmers in Acadiana. The more than $900 billion dollar bill was finally passed last week, after more than four years of discussion and disagreement from both sides of the aisle.
In just a few weeks, empty fields will be planted once again with rice, but because of uncertainty on Capitol Hill many farmers weren't sure how much it would cost to get to that point.
"We have to know what's going to happen so that they can go to their lenders and ask for money. When they want to borrow money they have to know what programs are in place. If the programs are not in place when they're applying for the loans. They can't get the loans and they can't plant the crop. That delays things," LSU Ag Center Extension Rice Specialist Johnny Saichuck said.
Any delay in planting could reduce the final yield. Now with the Farm Bill law, rice farmers will have new rules to follow. For instance, direct payments are now gone in exchange for funding in times when prices or revenue drop.
"We do still have some assurances, basically, some protection if the commodity prices drop drastically or something like that. We have some protection," Saichuck said.
He also says although there are changes for farmers, for those at home, thankfully they won't see increased prices at the check out line.
"They shouldn't see any change at the grocery store. There shouldn't be any impact. They won't even notice what has happened."
Even though it is called the Farm Bill, the biggest part of the bill will also cut around $800 million dollars each year from the food stamp program. That's about one percent of the $80 billion dollar a year program.