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American Corn Growers: ‘Politics, not policy scuttled 2001 Farm Bill’

(Dec. 22, 2001 – CropChoice news) -- The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) this week explained their dismay with actions in the U.S. Senate that postponed final action of a new farm bill until next year. "It was partisan politics, not policy that forced the postponement of the new farm bill," explained Keith Dittrich, a corn farmer from Tilden, Neb., and president of the ACGA.

"The failure of Senate Republicans to support advancement of the new farm bill not only postpones enactment of the new farm bill, but also postpones the ability of most farmers to work with their bankers and lending institutions on financing the 2002 crop," added Dittrich

Yesterday, for the third time in a week, the Senate failed to pass a motion to halt what amounted to a filibuster by Republicans in a partisan vote. The delaying tactics of the GOP, which included heavy-handed pressure from the White House, forced Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., to postpone action on the farm bill until next February at the earliest.

"Since Republicans were successful on three occasions, to offer amendments to substitute their farm policies, all of which were debated and defeated on bipartisan votes, the evidence is undeniable that the delay is politically driven, not policy driven. The policy debate has occurred, but the political impasse has not subsided. This postponement of at least six weeks will prove extremely detrimental to many farm families seeking to work with their lenders for financing of the 2002 crop," explained Dittrich.

Last month, ACGA applauded Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa and Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and the committee's bill for its higher loan rates, the additional stability in its target price mechanism, its expansion of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the fact that, if enacted, farmers would not be at the mercy of politically charged annual ad hoc emergency spending bills. "Because of the delay imposed on enactment of the new bill, farmers again find themselves at the mercy of another politically charged annual ad hoc emergency spending bill unless Senate Republicans allow for quick action after their month-long holiday recess," concluded Dittrich.