Bill offers critical help for West Texas farmers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Bill offers critical help for West Texas farmers

Dan Jackson, General Manager for Meadow Farmers Co-op gin Dan Jackson, General Manager for Meadow Farmers Co-op gin

After two years of bipartisan bickering, a new farm bill is one step closer to becoming law.

The House of Representatives passed the bill on Wednesday, meaning good news for local farmers.

Executive Vice President of Plains Cotton Growers Steve Verett says agriculture is the second largest economic contributor to the state of Texas and the largest contributor to the economy for the High Plains.

Dan Jackson, General Manager for Meadow Farmers Co-op gin, says the bill will be a big help to farmers in the area.

"It affects West Texas in a huge way. It is very important that we have a good farm bill," Jackson said.

Jackson grew up around a cotton gin. He became a manager of one in 1996, so he has seen a lot of ups and downs when it comes to the agricultural industry on Capitol Hill. He says the major compromise on Wednesday came as a relief to him as well as other farmers across the nation.

"We have that safety net there that our producers are allowed to do what they do best and what's going to happen when that hail storm comes," Jackson said.

It's a $100 billion-a-year deal - a deal that Jackson says helps protect farmers when times are tough. He says farmers in West Texas know exactly what that's like.

"Hail, windstorms, lack of rain... So when they go in to borrow that money, there needs to be a backstop there to recover whatever they borrowed," he said.

He says that in turn helps our local economy.

"I'm using electricity, I'm hiring people. We employ a pretty good workforce through the fall and we're buying goods and services from the people who supply us."

Verett says it's not just the local economy, it helps the nation as a whole.

"This farm bill saves $23 billion over a 10-year period. And with the fiscal condition that our country is in, we need to have government programs, spend less than what they have spent in the past," Verett said.

He says that's possible through cuts to food stamps and caps on farm subsidies.

The senate is expected to pass this bill as early as next week. Then it heads to the White House.

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