ALABAMA FARMERS TO DISCUSS BUDGET CUTS, CUBAN TRADE IN WASHINGTON
Concerns over proposed farm program budget cuts and new trade restrictions with Cuba will be on the minds of more than 200 Alabama farmers when they visit the nation's capital as part of the Alabama Farmers Federation's annual Washington Legislative Trip March 15-18.
Federation President Jerry Newby said farmers will hear from newly appointed Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns. Newby said farmers are likely to voice their opposition to the president's proposed cuts to farm programs and Newby expects farmers to relate the harmful effects to agriculture that Alabama would experience should the president's recommendations become law.
Those recommendations include imposing further payment limits on farmers to $250,000, elimination of the triple entity rule and generic marketing certificates, and tying marketing loans to historical production.
While in Washington, farmers also will hear from U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., the ranking House Democrat on the Agriculture Committee. Peterson already has joined every Republican and Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee in sending a letter to the House Budget Committee insisting that no cuts be made to the farm bill.
Farmers also will meet in breakout groups for a breakfast with their respective congressmen. The group will attend a luncheon at the Russell Senate Office Building where farmers will hear from U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Alabama's senior senator, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, will introduce Chambliss at the luncheon.