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Growers worry Farm Bill won't pass House

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Jun 11 2013 06:14:20 PM MDT
CHURCHILL, Mont. -

Farmer Matt Flikkema shows me the unevenness of a wheat field due to a dry spring. Even as a steady rain falls, he tells me they're not out of the clear, yet.

"It all depends on how hot it gets, later part of June and July or if we can get a good rain early July," says Flikkema.

Drought is just one of many perils that can take out a crop. It's why farmers look to the 2008 Farm Bill for help. Soon, the bill's direct payments will end and growers will, instead, have the opportunity to purchase crop insurance, an expensive but important tool. That is, if the bill passes.

"It is a safety net for the growers and that's the big deal," says Flikkema.

Insurance is done on a broad-based scale and the cost is different for farmers in different parts of the country. Flikkema tells me he's worried subsidies might be lowered or eliminated. It's a move he says might lower crop insurance participation.

"Those areas that are not in high risk areas are going to drop out because of cost. That's only going to raise the cost to those growers that are in the riskier areas like Montana," explains Flikkema.

I also spoke to a rancher about the Farm Bill. He tells me, if you're a livestock producer, the Livestock Disaster Program is virtually your only chance at getting help. It's why he's keeping a close eye on what happens next.