MOULTRIE -- Farmers catching bad luck from all sides in the past couple of years may find some relief in the Agricultural Assistance Act of 2003 that passed the Senate as part of an appropriations omnibus Thursday night.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., is pleased that the $3 billion disaster aid package helps producers of some of Georgia's biggest crops -- peanuts, tobacco and pecans.
"Georgia's farmers have once again experienced a disastrous crop year. Due to a wet harvest season, many farmers who were fortunate to produce a crop experienced a disaster in crop quality. Many farmers were forced to leave part of their cotton or peanut crop in the field due to the unusually wet harvest season," Chambliss said.
The amount of tobacco growers' aid is tied to the quota pounds they were allotted.
For peanut and other insured crops, the amount of payment made equals 42 percent of direct payment amounts producers are eligible to receive for the 2002 crop as specified in the current farm bill.
Included in the act is disaster aid of $100 million to America's fruit, vegetable and nut producers; $250 million in aid to livestock producers; $250 million for emergency surplus removal of agriculture commodities; $50 million for cottonseed and first-handlers; $80 million for sugar beet producers; $10 million to provide assistance to agricultural producers along the Texas Rio Grande who suffered economic losses; $1.65 million to agricultural producers in the vicinity of Malaga, N.M., for losses incurred during 2002 and 2003 as the result of the federal government's application of tebuthiuron on land on or near their farms.
The act also made provisions for losses incurred by pork producers by weather-related disasters.
Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., was unavailable for comment as of press time Friday.