Bush Budget

President Bush's budget proposal for 2006 is being called the tightest budget in years. Proposed cuts include what could be bad news for area agriculture.

A farmer's job never seems to be done; long hours, plenty of work, and for some, not too much to show for it, and that's not the worst of it.

The president's new federal budget proposes cutting farm subsidies by five percent and lowering farmers’ payment limit cap, all around bad news for struggling south Georgia farmers.

Johnny Whiddon, Brooks County Extension Coordinator, says, "Even if you cut them all out it's not going to help the budget in Washington, DC, but it's really going to hurt the farmers. The farmers here in Georgia and the southeast United States depend on the farm subsidies as part of their income now."

It’s an income that has suffered greatly in recent years for many local farmers.

Larry Cunningham, a peanut expert, says, "Five percent doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're looking at a margin of five to seven percent, that may be all of the profit for some farmers."

It's a tough time to be a farmer right now because in addition to budget pressures, farmers say it could be a challenge to get the tractors fired up and in the field due to some pressures from mother nature.

Cunningham adds, "Four hurricanes this past harvest season gave us a new idea of what the weather could do."

But for now, these farmers will weather both the physical and financial storms with hopes of a sunny future. Farmers say folks can express their opinions about the proposed budget by e-mailing their local lawmakers.