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South Plains cotton farmers worried about losing crop insurance

Published: Oct. 27, 2015 at 10:07 PM CDT|Updated: Jan. 26, 2016 at 12:50 AM CST
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LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - Farmers took a hit in 2014 when the Farm Bill cut federal crop insurance by $23 billion, according to Plains Cotton Growers.

Now they say farmers across the nation are at risk of losing crop insurance completely in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, set to be voted on Wednesday.

This has raised major concerns with cotton farmers right here in District 19, including Brad Heffington, owner of Heffington Farms Inc.

"We started from basically nothing," Heffington said. "Small town banker got me a loan to start farming when I was a junior in college and all I had was student loan debt."

Brad said he and his wife have invested 28 years into their cotton farm in Littlefield.

"It's our livelihood," Heffington said.

Federal crop insurance is the only safety net cotton farmers have to fall back on, Brad said. Now, they're at risk of losing it all if this new bill gets passed.

"The cuts in this bill could potentially just undermine all the crop insurance companies where there wouldn't be crop insurance available," Heffington said.

He said should any storm wipe out a cotton farmer's crop, the chances of staying in business would be slim without crop insurance.

"Cotton farmers - this is the only thing we have. So without that, everything I've invested in 28 years I could lose in one storm," he said.

Brad said he hopes Congress will realize the significance of cotton to our nation's economy.

"We don't want to have the United States not pay their bills but this portion of the bill would be very devastating to District 19 and the whole farming industry."

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