BROAD COALITION SUPPORTS VITAL FARM BILL FUNDING
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Increase farm bill funding: that was the message sent today by leading industry groups in a letter to the Senate and House Budget Committees. The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, America's Second Harvest and the National Association of Conservation Districts were among the 100 signatories on the letter.
"Given the cuts agricultural programs have already sustained over the last several years, and the substantial savings as a result of farm bill programs, we ask that you adopt mandatory and discretionary spending levels that provide for additional funding and resist efforts to force further budget reductions on agricultural, food assistance, conservation and other critical programs," states the letter.
According to the groups, there are both increased challenges and new opportunities that must be considered and addressed as Congress begins crafting new farm bill legislation this year. The organizations are urging the budget committees "to adopt a budget resolution that provides an adequate level of resources to address the challenges that confront agriculture's diverse stakeholders and fully takes advantage of the new opportunities that are available to this important sector of our economy and society," according to the letter.
The letter goes further to say that the current farm bill, "represents a delicate balance among many priorities by effectively addressing the stability of our agricultural production base, protecting our important natural resources, and enhancing nutrition and food assistance programs for our nation.
"The programs administered by the Department of Agriculture are of enormous importance to farmers, ranchers, rural communities, low-income Americans and all our nation's children," concludes the letter.
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, enacted five years ago after exhaustive debate in the House and Senate, provides for commodity, conservation, nutrition, renewable energy, crop insurance, export promotion, forestry and other valuable programs.