PEANUT TITLE MARKUP OF 2007 FARM BILL DISAPPOINTS APPA
DOTHAN, Ala. -- The Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) is expressing strong disappointment in the Peanut Title for the 2007 Farm Bill adopted recently by the House Subcommittee for Specialty Crops.
The bill extends the direct payment, counter-cyclical payment and marketing loan peanut programs contained in the 2002 farm bill. The legislation is open for discussion now among committee members, and during markup sessions subcommittee members will have the opportunity to offer amendments.
The Congressional Budget Office scores all programs and determined expected government cost. Proposals submitted by Southeastern peanut states were estimated to remain within budgetary mandates set by the committee. A latter request to revise these numbers using different assumptions exaggerated the peanut program cost. It was these costs that were used to determine the first markup of the peanut title by the House Subcommittee.
"We were extremely disturbed in the late revision in the numbers that lead to a poor proposal for peanuts," said APPA executive director Randy Griggs. "However, this is only the first step in the process, and we will find out why the cost estimates were revised at such a surprisingly late date. It was unfair and obviously political."
With fuel and other costs on the rise, growers are in need of changes to the current farm bill to stay in the farming business. Two amendments that would change the current law focus on marketing loan rate and payment acres. The legislation raises the loan rate to $375 per ton, from $355 in the 2002 Farm Bill.
The legislation also amends the definition of "payment acres" for the 2008 through 2012 crops of peanuts as meaning 74 percent of the base acres assigned to a farm. Under current law, payment acres are 85 percent of base acres.
APPA officials say they are appreciative of the hard work from their congressional leaders from peanut areas on the peanut farmers' behalf, and will continue to visit congressmen and their staffs on behalf of farmers to express their concerns in regards to the farm bill.
"While we are disappointed in where we are at this time, we are proud of Congressman Terry Everett in his efforts," stated APPA president Carl Sanders. "Everett, along with the congressmen from Georgia, made sure the Southeast would be involved in what happens in any program changes. This was particularly important since growers from other areas were opposed to any effort to increase the income safety net for producers -- a fact, which we do not understand."
At this time, the full House Agriculture Committee has not scheduled its markup of the farm bill and the Senate has not scheduled action on writing the 2007 Farm Bill.