Farmers worry about effect of $30B in cuts

By MARY CLARE JALONICK | July 16, 2011 | 3:44 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Farmers are rushing to save the government subsidies they've enjoyed for years.

President Barack Obama and lawmakers want to cut $30 billion or more in agriculture spending as part of a deficit-reduction deal.

Farmers say they know they will have to take a hit, but they fear too many cuts could lead to sharp decreases in crop prices, sending farmers back into a 1980s-era farm crisis.

Negotiators in the budget talks are looking at three pots of agriculture money: direct payments, which pay farmers regardless of the crop they grow; crop insurance, which helps farmers in the event of losses; and conservation money, which pays farmers to protect environmentally sensitive land.