They asked for help with credit, direct loss payments from Washington and monopolistic corporate consolidation.
"I know what a lot of you are going through," said Michael Scuse, a Delaware farmer who's U.S. Department of Agriculture under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services.
Some 100 farmers met with Scuse, U.S. Rep. Travis Childers of Booneville and others today at the Lee County Agri-Center to hear about possible financial help from the U.S. Congress and to tell officials specific problems.
Many, including Billy Sprain of Prentiss County, told about how summer drought and fall rains had ruined their crops, and made insurance-required harvests a costly waste of time.
"My beans are just about totally ruined," he said.
He and other complained that crop insurance regulations are costing them money, while the value of their crops has virtually disappeared.
Childers and Rep. Marion Berry of Arkansas recently introduced legislation to help farmers through the crop disaster, but Childers sounded concerned that it may not be fully addressed before the Congress quits work for 2009.
"We're just running out of time," Childer said of the year's winding down.
"If that happens, we'll come right back with it after the New Year," the conservative Democrat told them.
But he said he's hoping veteran U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, with extensive experience shepherding appropriations, can make a difference as the clock ticks away.
Scuse heard specific problems from farmers, especially about the lack of credit and effective insurance, and said he will go back to Washington to seek solutions.
For more details, read Tuesday's Daily Journal.