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Mr. Speaker, We can assure you that there 'is a problem'

(Friday, Oct. 18, 2002 -- CropChoice news)--Keith Dittrich, president of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) and a corn farmer from Tilden, Neb., expressed his dismay with the United States House of Representatives' failure to pass emergency legislation for farmers and ranchers hard hit by natural disaster in the 2001 and 2002 crop years.

"Farmers in many parts of the nation are experiencing financial hardship due to weather related disasters, especially drought, and a farm economy which is the third worst in 68 years," said Dittrich. "It is appalling to hear comments from Speaker Dennis Hastert that there is not a problem."

Dittrich was referring to a statement by the Speaker in which he said the House could pass drought relief legislation after the election "if there's a problem". The House recessed last night until Nov. 11 without taking up the legislative initiative to provide for the much-needed emergency disaster relief.

"I can assure you there is a problem, Mr. Speaker," responded Dittrich. "According to a USDA report released last month, net farm income is forecasted to drop in calendar year 2002 by 23 percent from the 2001 level. The forecast for 2002 net farm income is $35.2 billion, the lowest level since 1986."

"I can also assure the Speaker there will soon be another problem," added Dittrich. "It will be his problem and it will be at the polls next month when drought stricken farmers across this nation will vote to change the leadership in the U.S. House for failing to recognize the seriousness of this drought and the devastation it has wrought on farm and ranch families. I urge every farmer and rancher as well as every rural businessperson, banker, equipment dealer, trucker, laborer, etcetera to exercise their constitutional right to vote and to remember what needs to be done when they go to the polls on Nov. 5!"

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