When farmers have losses, they can sometimes get paid back by the government. But what they can get paid for and how much they get paid is all about to change. YNN's Andrew Sorensen explains what a new Farm Bill could mean for local farmers.
FRANKFORT, N.Y. -- Back when his Ford tractor had a few more chips of paint on it, Frankfort farmer Joe Aversa was much more a grower than a survivor.
"Hurricanes, the diseases in the tomatoes and other vegetable crops," he said of his recent woes.
He used to farm three fields, but extreme weather took its toll.
"I had a creek running through the field," he said. "The other field that I still do farm, I lost 80 to 85 percent of it this year. And I don't know if I'm going to continue on even running that field."
Aversa still works this field on the side of an afternoon shift at Remington, but he's farming less.
"It don't make me feel any good, because I was brought up into this since I was a young boy," Aversa said.
Despite his continuing losses, Aversa refuses insurance. The USDA says about two-thirds of farmers don't take similar government subsidies in New York State. Many say they have a bad taste from the programs.
"I've had situations in the last four years and got poor results out of it," said Aversa.
The new Farm Bill will likely change what Aversa can get. Congressional leaders are talking of making them more attractive by expanding crop and disaster insurance. Senate leaders want to better cover fruit and vegetable farmers. But they're also slashing direct payments, ACRE, a program to protect revenues and another subsidy for lower market profits. Aversa isn't sure he'll ever take insurance again. He has his own methods now.
"I've covered up my late long-hot peppers. Recent frost and hard freeze, this has protected it very well," he said.
But how long he survives without it could be up to the changes made in the new Farm Bill.
Congressional leaders are looking to make the new Farm Bill good for five years. The current version only lasts one year. It expires in January.