May 09 2001


Legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) to aid peanut farmers was adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee today.

"My legislation is a first step toward helping the peanut farmers in my state and in the Southeast region," said Shelby. "Like many other farmers throughout the nation, peanut farmers have been experiencing tough times the last few years."

As a result of the 1999 crop year, Southeastern peanut farmers will have to pay an assessment of $46.20 per ton to cover for losses. Full payment of this assessment is currently pending. Senator Shelby's legislation allows growers to pay for the assessment with future assessment proceeds.

"The practical effect of this assessment is that farmers will receive a disaster assistance check one day and have to turn around and pay it back to the government to meet the assessment the next," said Shelby. "Payment of the assessment would deal a devastating blow-potentially millions of dollars--to the already financially strapped peanut farmers of the Southeast region."

"While it may take a greater amount of time to pay back the losses, they will get paid," added Shelby. "But most importantly, paying back the losses will not come at the cost of driving thousands of Southeastern peanut farmers out of farming."