NC Farm Bureau Applauds New Farm Bill

Feb 5, 2014

Strickland Farms has been growing tobacco for generations in North Carolina.
Credit Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The North Carolina Farm Bureau is applauding the passage of the new Farm Bill.  Leaders say it provides stability and certainty to the state’s largest industry.

Larry Wooten is President of the North Carolina Farm Bureau.  His family farms tobacco, corn and soybeans in Pender County.

“Very thankfully this extravaganza of a piece of legislation that took over two years to bring to fruition is finally passed the Senate and it’s headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

The impact of the Farm Bill is wide, affecting farmers, research institutions, nutrition programs and more. There have been major cuts to food stamps and direct subsidies to farmers have been eliminated.

A statement by President Barack Obama calls the Farm Bill legislation "historic" and was approved by a "strong bipartisan vote."

"As with any compromise, the Farm Bill isn't perfect, but on the whole, it will make a positive difference not only for the rural economies that grow America's food, but for our nation," said Mr. Obama.

Wooten says there are about 50-thousand farming operations across North Carolina, and almost 20% of workers in the state owe their job to Agriculture and Agribusiness ventures.

Meanwhile, a Duke University professor says the new Farm Bill will only help wealthy farmers.  Assistant Professor Gabriel Rosenberg researches the history of women in gender roles in U.S. Agriculture. 

"While not all farmers today are wealthy, the farmers who will collect the farm insurance subsidy in this year's Farm Bill will be disproportionately wealthy.  A tiny wealthy fraction of all farmers will collect around a third of the total subsidy," said Rosenberg.