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American Corn Growers urge congressional leaders to rely on facts, not myths, as they forge ahead on new Farm Bill

(April 5, 2002 CropChoice news) -- The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) is calling on leadership in the United States Senate and House of Representatives involved in conferencing the next farm bill to review the facts, and avoid the fiction, before making the same fatal mistakes in previous farm policy decisions.

Keith Dittrich, ACGA president, pointed out the three biggest myths on farm policy, and implored conferees to avoid using the fictitious arguments behind them during the final deliberations on the farm bill.

"There are too many myths, falsehoods, lies, legends, fabrications, untruths, and fairy tales being perpetrated on America's farmers during this farm bill process," Dittrich said. "I want to identify the biggest three myths currently being used. It is important because these myths are being used as unqualified arguments to force lawmakers, and the nation's farmers, to settle for lower support (loan) rates."

"It is untrue that:

  • Lower price support rates (CCC loans) increase exports and, thence, increase farm profits,
  • Higher price supports result in over production, and
  • Lower price supports, cause lower production, and bring supply in balance with demand."

"There is no credible analytical or historical evidence to prove any of these myths to be true," Dittrich said. "On the other hand, there is hard analytical and historical evidence to prove they are not true. The ACGA, along with several well known agricultural economists, upon review of concise, summarized history of important and interconnected statistics affecting U.S. crop farmers extending back to 1975, have proved, without a doubt, that all three of these are myths."

Dittrich explained that:

  • Since 1979, the price support for corn has been lowered (adjusted for inflation) over 60 percent, exports have remained stagnant at about 1.9 billion bushels and the price paid to farmers has fallen 60 percent;
  • Since 1979, U.S corn production has increased almost 50 percent, while the price support for corn has been lowered over 60 percent; and
  • Unlike other sectors of the economy, farmers do not reduce production when supports or prices are lowered. Farmers may be forced out of business, but farm acres have always remained in production.

"We can't use low price supports and low prices paid to farmers as a form of Darwinian supply management," Dittrich added. "It doesn't work and it devastates rural America."