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Corn Growers praise Senate action on disaster assistance

(Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2002 -- CropChoice news) --Keith Dittrich, president of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) and a corn farmer from Tilden Neb., today praised leadership in the United States Senate passage of emergency legislation for farmers and ranchers hard hit by natural disaster both in the 2001 and 2002 crop years.

"We have taken an important step forward in providing essential relief to drought stricken farm families," said Dittrich. "We must now convince the House of Representatives and President Bush to support this extremely important measure."

The Senate accepted the bipartisan drought disaster amendment by a vote of 79 to 16. Offered last week by Senate Majority Leader Daschle, D-S.D., and Senators Johnson, D-S.D., Burns, R-Mont., Baucus, D-Mont. and others, the measure is nearly identical to legislation that has passed the Senate twice, first last November in economic stimulus legislation and, second, earlier this year in the Farm Bill, but was opposed on both occasions by the Administration and blocked by the House Republican leadership. The prospects for adoption of this proposal remain uncertain because President Bush continues to insist that the drought does not warrant emergency assistance.

"I hope that the House of Representatives and the President fully recognize the scope of this disaster for agriculture," said Dittrich. "Recalling past historic droughts, an old timer stated that the dirty thirties wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't been for the twenties, which was a long period of economic hardship for family farmers. Similarly, in these times, farmers have suffered through some of the worst economic conditions due to low market prices. This drought couldn't have come at a worse time."

Last month, Dittrich delivered testimony before a Senate panel on the disaster. That testimony may be found at http://www.acga.org/news/2002/082002_2.htm

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. See www.acga.org .