Farmer Leaders Learn 2012 Farm Bill Not Likely

Several state commodity leaders spent a few days in Washington last week discussing farm bill and other ag-related issues. Donny Lassiter, president of the North Carolina Cotton Producers Association and farmer from North Hampton County was in that group. Lassiter’s perception is that if a farm bill is presented this year, all will be for it, but it’s not looking promising:

“Well we met with every congressman and senator from North Carolina and I think they’re supportive of getting something done, but the action of actually getting it done, I’m not sure. I’d say it’s a 50/50 shot on whether or not something actually happening.”

This was Lassiter’s fourth trip to DC in the capacity of speaking with congressional leaders about farming issues:

“I’ve been up there, actually, the last two Februarys here with the cotton group, and before I’d been up there with a leadership class couple of times meeting with various representatives. And, I enjoy meeting with representatives, and all in all they’re open to hearing any kind of ideas you have, and it’s a pleasure to go up there when they are taking action, and every office we go in, they are very responsive, and want to know what they can do to help.”

Lassiter says that while it’s generally accepted that the 2008 farm bill will be extended, it would certainly be preferred to have it written in 2012:

“Because of budget constraints and changes in the baseline, we feel like we’ll have a better farm bill if they write it now, versus kicking the can down the road and giving a one year extension to the current farm bill and writing it in 2013.”

There’s been a lot of talk since the 2008 farm bill was written that that piece of legislation would be the last to include direct or counter-cyclical payments. Lassiter agrees:

“I think the days of the direct payment are over with. And to be honest, I think most farmers that I have talked to can deal with that as long as we can go to more of a crop insurance type program. More or less I think the days of the direct payment or some type of counter-cyclical program are a thing of the past. Most of the farmers that I’ve spoken to, including myself, and I talked to the representatives and the senators, they want to see a program more structured around crop insurance in some way; some type of shallow loss kind of program, to go along with crop insurance that producers are already buying.”

North Hampton County farmer and president of the North Carolina Cotton Producers Association, Donny Lassiter. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.