Created: 01/29/2014 5:50 PM KAALtv.com
By: Dan Conradt
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Looking out over a snow-covered late-January landscape, you might not envision a field filled with corn or soybeans. But farmers do.
“We start planning our next coming season 12 months in advance, or 18 months in advance," said Austin-area corn farmer Mike Merten.
“We need the certainty of what the farm bill gives us."
Now, after years of procedural hold-ups and political bickering, a new five year farm bill is one-step closer to reality.
"First of all I think this is a good compromise bill," said Minnesota First Distrioct Congressman Tim Walz.
"What we did was we got rid of direct payments, that made no sense to anyone to try and pay people to not grow crops, and we beefed up crop insurance."
“Crop insurance is I think very, very important in today's agriculture. It gives us a floor and we know we've got coverage in the case of a disaster," said Mower County farmer Mike Merten.
Calling it the “farm bill” conjures up images of corn and soybean fields, hogs and dairy farms. But some argue it SHOULD be called “the food bill”.
“The majority of the farm bill has to do with subsidies or food stamps, they call it SNAP now days," Mike Merten said. “I think the bill was held up more on that side of it than the agriculture side."
"I think what you're going to see is a leaner bill, saving 23 billion for tax payers," Democratic congressman Tim Walz told us.
“Corn, soybean grower's associations, the farm bureaus, numerous organizations, everybody has a chance to put into this thing," corn grower Mike Merten said.
“We're going to lose some on the far right, we're going to lose some on the far left, but we're going to pass a bill that's good for America," added congressman Tim Walz.
And with springtime just around the corner: “Finally it's done and we can look forward," Mike Merten said.