The 2002 farm bill expires this year. Some of the big ticket items of the proposed 2007 farm bill is $7.8 billion to protect natural resources and increase some direct payments to farmers by $5.5 billion. But it was another part of that program and grants for alternative energy sources that appealed to one small farmer.
John Fairbanks has been farming all of his life. He grew up here on his parents' farm North of Onaga and raises cattle and hogs, and grows soybeans and corn. He travelled to Manhattan to hear what Undersecretary of Rural Development Tom Dorr had to offer Kansas in the 2007 bill proposal.
"If there is a revenue shortfall, that is divided amoung the producers," says Dorr.
Fairbanks is especially interested in the revamping in the commodity program that would help farmers out in case they have a losing year on their crops.
"To know that I'm not losing any money anyway," says Fairbanks.
And right now, as corn prices are up, it also raises his cost to feed his hogs. So, he is always looking for new sources of income. Dorr also pointed out a program which would provide $500 million for alternative energy grants. Fairbanks is hoping this program would help him setup an electricity generating wind turbine and bring in some added revenue.
"If a person had a wind turbine setting out the possibility it could make a little money," says Fairbanks.
Other parts of the bill that could potentially help the state would be the addition would be to provide $1.6 billion in loans to help fix rural hospitals.
And there will be more than $500 million for rural infrastructure.