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ACGA, NFU say House can and should do much better on farm bill proposal

(April 19, 2002 – CropChoice news) – The American Corn Growers Association and the National Farmers Union expressed their dissatisfaction with farm bill proposals that conferees from the House of Representatives offered to their Senate counterparts.

"Today's compromise offered by the House Conferees of $1.95 loan rate for corn is just too low and is unacceptable to America's farmers," Larry Mitchell, CEO of the Corn Growers Association, said yesterday. "We need a loan rate to support our producers at a level no lower than that passed in the Senate farm bill."

Mitchell explained that an adequate loan, or support, rate is the truest form of a fair and equitable counter cyclical safety net for farmers. "The higher support rates contained in the Senate bill helps put the most benefits into the hands of those families actually raising the crops with the low prices. We cannot accept what the House conferees have offered this morning. To lock in the loan rate at such a dismal level for the better part of the next decade will be devastating to farm families and rural America."

Dave Frederickson, president of the National Farmers Union, voiced similar dissatisfaction with the House offer: "The House has submitted a modest compromise, but it does not adequately address the desperate economic situation in rural America. NFU urges the Senate to counter the House offer with a proposal that will provide more certainty for America’s farmers and ranchers."

The Farmers Union wants the Senate conferees to counter the House offer with a farm bill proposal that includes:

  • higher and more equitable marketing loan (support) rates that are based on current crop yields;
  • an improved safety net for all dairy producers;
  • mandatory country-of-origin labeling for meats, fruits, vegetables, catfish and peanuts;
  • a ban on meatpackers owning livestock more than 14 days before slaughter; and
  • production loss support for weather-related crop and livestock losses in 2001.

The Farmers Union also supports payment limitations that target assistance to family-sized operations, as provided in the Senate-passed farm bill proposal.

"Farmers Union commends the House and Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee for moving forward in the farm bill process and insists that additional progress be made," Frederickson said. "NFU especially appreciates Senators Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) for holding to the Senate farm bill provisions that are vitally important to our nation’s agriculture producers and rural communities."

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.acga.org

Visit the National Farmers Union at http://www.nfu.org