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April 23, 2007   Email to Friend 

Tracy Taylor Grondine
(202) 406-3642
April 23, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The nation's largest general farm organization today released its recommendations for a 2007 farm bill that is fiscally responsible, benefits all sectors of agriculture and respects U.S. trade obligations, while continuing a reliable safety net for the nation's farmers.

"America"s food supply is secure thanks to our productive farmers and ranchers and the support they receive from the farm bill to even out the ups and downs inherent in agriculture," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. "The Farm Bureau proposal would continue that support in a balanced way, within the budget constraints we face and consistent with our international trade commitments," Stallman said.

As opposed to a number of commodity-specific proposals that have been presented thus far, without acknowledging the impact they would have on the whole of American agriculture, the Farm Bureau proposal recognizes that Congress must develop a new farm bill that works for all farmers.

"Farm Bureau members produce everything from apples to wheat," said Stallman. "Our proposal reflects that agricultural diversity and balances the needs of all farmers and ranchers."

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate of the baseline funding available for agriculture spending ($42.4 billion over the potential six-year life of the 2007 farm bill) is $57 billion less than what Congress committed to spend ($98.9 billion) in the 2002 farm bill. The Farm Bureau proposal addresses this reality by including funding offsets for all proposed increases within a section of the bill.

"These recommendations are offered to assist Congress with the challenge of writing the new farm bill this year, with less funding available," Stallman added. "We encourage the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to give the Farm Bureau proposal their full consideration."

Highlights of the recommendations include:

  • Support for maintaining the baseline funding for the commodity title ($7 billion per year) and conservation title ($4.4 billion per year), rather than transferring funding from one title to another. These baselines already include sizable cuts from the 2002 farm bill funding level.
  • Support for eliminating the fruit and vegetable planting prohibition and for $250 million per year in conservation program funding for specialty crop growers.
  • Support for a revenue-based counter-cyclical safety net program to protect against both low prices and low yields and provide payments to farmers when they need them most.
  • Support for a standing catastrophic assistance program that is integrated with a re-rated crop insurance program. Crop insurance coverage would be reduced from the current coverage level because the new standing catastrophic assistance program would cover 50 percent of losses.
  • Support for retention of non-environmentally sensitive land in the Conservation Reserve Program and allowing the production of energy crops on that land. Those contract holders would be required to produce a cellulosic ethanol feedstock cover crop.

Opposition to any changes in farm bill payment limitations and income means-testing.

Farm Bureau estimates that its proposal would cost $519.2 billion over 10 years (2008 through 2017), the same as the CBO baseline.

Read about the the principles which guided the formation of the Farm Burea's 2007 farm bill proposal, and commonly asked questions about the plan at www.fb.org/index.php?fuseaction=newsroom.farmbill2007

Download All 56 Pages Of The Farm Bureau Recommendations

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