Area farmers getting back on track

By Sarah Robinson/NEMS Daily Journal

Wet weather has continued to disrupt planting across the region. But according to the most recent crops report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of acres of soybeans planted in the state is now at 96 percent, up from 88 percent last week.
Normie Buehring, an agronomist and soybean expert from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said he is not sure if Northeast Mississippi farmers are quite at 90 percent planted but expects they will be near 95 to 100 percent by the end of the week.
In terms of how behind schedule area farmers are, he said “it’s kind of a mixed bag.”
Buehring said many area farmers have seen one crop already washed out by the rain.
“Most of these farmers in the bottom are planting for the second time around,” he said.
The late-season planting will mean a later harvest for area farmers, which can mean additional risks.
“If you’re a farmer, you do the best you can and worry about that later,” Buehring said.
The rate of soybeans that have emerged is up to 91 percent from 70 percent a week earlier. The average for the previous five years for mid-June is 95 percent.
FARM BILL DEBATE
Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to begin debate on the 2013 farm bill this week. When the House votes on the bill will depend on the number of amendments debated. The number of amendments proposed is expected to be in the hundreds.
The 2013 farm bill contains a program to supplement crop insurance premiums for farmers that will replace direct payments, which have been widely criticized in the past.
Final passage of the legislation will depend on the level of bipartisan support House and Senate leaders are able to gather. The bill continues to grow in controversy for its handling of the federal food stamps program.
Opponents in one camp say the legislation’s proposed $20 billion in cuts to the program are too steep, while other special interest groups say the cuts do not go far enough to reform the program and save taxpayer dollars.
A similar bill passed the Senate which includes the crop insurance program but only $4 billion in cuts to the food stamp program.
Sen.Thad Cochran, R-Miss., the ranking minority member on the Senate agriculture committee, said the legislation provides a safety net for farmers in difficult years and will “help create an environment for profitable agriculture.”
sarah.robinson@journalinc.com