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Barrow, state peanut group discuss farm bill rules
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TIFTON — The Georgia Peanut Commission board of directors recently met with U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah) regarding farm bill regulations that are still not finalized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The 2008 Farm Bill approved a new rotation program which provides an incentive to farmers who practice this conservation initiative.

“The 2008 Farm Bill was authorized last year and USDA has yet to write regulations for the rotation program,” said Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission. “The rotation program is a new incentive that may help determine what many farmers plant in 2009. We are very frustrated that the program has not been implemented yet for this year.”

The University of Georgia’s National Center for Peanut Competitiveness was instrumental in developing the rotation program and the Georgia Peanut Commission supported it through passage of the farm bill.

The rotation program offers supplemental payments for producers who adopt a beneficial crop rotation. The program encourages producers to adopt new, additional beneficial crop rotations that provide significant conservation benefits. The payments are to be available to producers across the country and are not limited to a particular crop, cropping system, or region of the country.

In the Southeast, peanuts are an example of a crop that responds well to increased rotation lengths. Increased rotation lengths help peanut producers conserve water, more effectively control disease, reduce inputs to control disease and increase productivity.