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SD Farmers React To Looming Farm Bill

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The New Year is just days away, and lawmakers have yet to come up with a new farm bill. With the current one set to expire Jan. 1, South Dakota farmers are concerned about their future.

It’s already been a rough year for farmers. The drought created low yields and left many relying on crop insurance to help pay for next years crop.

"It just insures on stability for farmers, especially for farmers this year after the drought. Crop insurance, all those are important factors that are all involved in the farm bill,” said Darrin Ihnen, a farmer from Hurley.

Those supplements of crop insurance are a part of the farm bill, which expired Sept. 30. Although it was extended until Jan 1, a new bill is still up in the air. And it has left South Dakota farmer like Ihnen uncertain about the future.  

"It gives us a chance to do it again next year-because as you know farmers plant their crops in the spring and you hope and pray all summer to get a crop in the fall. And when that doesn’t happen, we have to have something to fall back on,” said Ihnen.

Ihnen said that extra money could be the deciding factor on whether or not a farmer can continue doing business. He also said disaster relief; price management for products and marketing funding could also disappear.

But Ihnen said what could really hurt farmers if the bill is not renewed, would be the loss of programs that help foreign trade. After all, South Dakota farmers export over half of their soybean yield alone each year to China.

"Its very important for us to reach into these foreign countries and show then the products we have available for export,” said Ihnen.

But overall Ihnen said farmers just need a stable program so they can make stable businesses plans, to keep farming traditions alive.

  The most recent farm bill can either be extended another year, or if not, it will be reverted back to the farm bill from 1949. Ihnen said that would essentially gut all programs and give farmers less funding all together.

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