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Farmers Focus on Farm Bill Following the End of Government Shutdown

CONWAY, Mo. -- In his first speech since the U.S. Government was back in business, President Barack Obama named passing the Farm Bill as one of the top three priorities.
CONWAY, Mo. -- In his first speech since the U.S. Government was back in business, President Barack Obama named passing the Farm Bill as one of the top three priorities.

For farmers busy working in AgriTourism to supplement their farm's income the President's focus on agriculture is promising.

As families head out to pumpkin patches and corn mazes, farmer's families are using AgriTourism to bring in extra money for the farm and even on a beautiful day like Thursday dollars and cents are on their mind, like the passage of a farm bill.

For farm families like the Gunters, their pumpkin patch and two different corn mazes mean more money. They even got permission to use a Duck Dynasty theme in their largest corn maze this year.

"It never hurts to have extra income," says David Gunter of Gunter Farms Dairy.

For the students of Macks Creek Elementary, AgriTourism is an education.

"It gives our students the opportunity to be in the outdoors to learn a little bit about agriculture and farming,” says Mack's Creek Elementary Principal Jori Phillips. “We take some time to enjoy the corn mazes and the pumpkin patch.”

Student Alyssa Seaholm said they learned also learned about the cows.

"How much cows produce and that they drink a lot of water,” says Seaholm.

Though the farm offers educational experiences, it’s fun for students as well.

"They have awesome corn mazes and it's really fun to do things like pick out your own pumpkin," says student Mackenzie Hicks.

The Gunters started a decade ago to educate the public about farming. David Gunter likens Agritourism to diversifying a stock portfolio.

"If one year the dairy farm is not as profitable, maybe the pumpkin patch is," says Gunter. "You have to think out of the box sometime if a corn maze and a pumpkin patch is the way to do it then that's the way.”

While students eye their prime pick, farmers like Gunter have their eyes on Washington for another economic issue. President Obama named the farm bill as one of his top three priorities Thursday.

Gunter says for farmers the future of the farm bill is a mixture of hope and worry.

"For the Farm Bill to be one of the three priorities the president has really is a promising thing for agriculture and farmers,” says Gunter. "We can hope, that's all we can do, there's no guarantees of anything. The Farm Bill actually expired September 30, so even though they've got the government back going we are still operating without a farm bill, a safety net for farmers."

Gunter says he's confident in Missouri's delegates.

"We feel like the Missouri legislators have the Farm Bill, they want it to pass but we have a lot more hurdles than just the Missouri legislators that we have to get through to get a farm bill passed,” says Gunter.

The Gunters say while they are confident in the Missouri contingent, they're unsure of what lawmakers in the rest of the nation will do and they are hoping they won't see something like the deadlock in Washington these past few weeks.

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