COALITION CALLS FARM BILL PROPOSAL UNDERFUNDED
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Farm Bureau Federation and 41 other agriculture organizations on Thursday sent a letter to Senate and House Agriculture Committee leaders explaining that the current farm bill proposal negotiated between the House committee leadership and the administration is seriously underfunded.
The letter notes baseline spending for the commodity title of the farm bill has already decreased by 60 percent. In addition, the letter states, "While the administration is demanding that a bill be written with only $6 billion in offsets, we believe that providing less than $12.5 billion in additional funding will require the farmer safety net to bear the unfair burden of paying for increases in spending in other areas of the bill."
Further, the letter reminds committee leaders, "It is easy for some to say in these times of good prices, the safety net for agriculture can or should be weakened. However, we should learn from the past. Markets move. During the life of the 1996 farm bill, generally good prices in 1995-1996 quickly turned to poor prices in 1999 and beyond. Combined with the dramatic increases in farm input prices already faced by agriculture producers today, a downturn in commodity costs could prove disastrous for American agriculture. For this reason, it is imperative that prices today not be used as a justification to erode the future safety net for agriculture."
Media coverage of the farm bill continues to be extensive. A Reuters
www.reuters.com/ article by Charles Abbott and a Des Moines Register Online
www.desmoinesregister.com/ piece by Phil Brasher lay out the details of the current state of affairs with particular clarity.