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Mississippi farmers concerned with U.S. House's failure to pass farm bill

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Congress has until September 30 to pass a farm bill. Thursday, the United States House voted down a version of the legislation. That has farmers across the country questioning the future of their crops.

Danny Murphy is a Mississippi farmer and President of the American Soybean Association. He's been following the farm bill closely. For him, the decision could affect his livelihood.

"We're not just the mom and pop organizations we used to be," said Murphy. "We have to work several thousand acres to have enough economic stability."

Murphy said 97% of U.S. farms are family farms. But their expenses reach up from half a million to a million dollars each year. Without a farm bill, they could lose the ability to back up their major investment.

"The factor now is it's so expensive to plant a crop and to make that investment and the crop insurance really kind of gives you the insurance that if you do have a disaster that you'll be able to survive another year," Murphy explained.

Mississippi farmers experienced disaster with flooding in 2011. And they say the business has too many variables to not have the legislation.

"Would've had an impact on our day to day ability to farm and how we handle things," said Murphy.

The concern is with the uncertainty. Murphy believes this year's crops are safe but he doesn't know about 2014.

"Look at the reality of maybe not having crop insurance or not being able to complete conservation implementation or any of the other provisions the farm bill provides. I think it gets really serious then," he said.

Last year, people feared what would happen to product prices if the bill wasn't renewed. This year, Murphy remains hopeful that congress will reach a compromise and pass the bill.

"I don't think the government can revert to the 1949 law and run the risk of having eight dollar milk. so I think that congress will have to do something. They're going to have to make modifications," said Murphy.

The version of the farm bill that was rejected would have included cuts to the food stamp program.

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