Yesterday the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) reiterated their commitment to improve federal agricultural and rural programs for the nation’s farm families. “We support the principals set forth for the next farm bill by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and members of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee,” said ACGA president Keith Dittrich of Tilden, Neb. “We must have a true counter-cyclical income safety net, improved conservation initiatives, fair and competitive international and domestic markets, and provisions for rural community revitalization in the next farm bill.”
“We are extremely disappointed in Secretary Veneman’s failure to properly address the needs of America’s farm families in Administration’s farm policy goals put forth today,” added Dittrich. “Over the past quarter century farmers have experienced first hand the great policy experiment of ‘lower prices will lead to higher exports and prosperity’ and it has failed miserably. Corn farmers have endured more than a 67-percent reduction in price over that time period, our exports have remained static, and prosperity is even further from our reach. It is plain to see that that dog don’t hunt!”
“We need a counter-cyclical program that provides a higher support rate for our commodities and puts the money in the pockets of the farmers raising the crops with the low prices,” added Dittrich. “We need a conservation program, not as a substitute for farm programs, but as a companion to farm programs, which rewards and helps those producers who are already following proper conservation practices and encourages others to do so. We also need a competition title in the farm bill to insure farmers and ranchers have a choice in who they sell to and buy from — the free enterprise system requires competition and competition requires competitors, not monopolies. We must also revitalize our rural communities by assuring the essentials and basic needs such as water, sanitation, transportation and energy needs are met.”
Last month ACGA released economic analysis showing their farm bill proposal increases net farm income while costing the same or less than the farm legislation passed last summer by the House Agriculture Committee. “The Family Farm Agriculture Recovery and Maintenance Act (The Family F.A.R.M. Act) is a long-term plan designed to benefit farmers,” said Dittrich. “This formal proposal follows over eighteen months of grassroots development by ACGA, thorough analysis of 25 years of historic data and state of the art computer analysis by the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center (APAC) at the University of Tennessee.”
Dittrich added, “Our proposal costs no more than the House committee bill, in fact it saves $4.7 billion in the first five years. More importantly, our proposal increases net farm income by $81.6 billion over 9 years when compared to the House committee bill. We urge the Senate Agriculture Committee to seriously review ACGA’s proposal. If we can maintain planting flexibility, expand the Conservation Reserve and conservation programs, maintain our competitiveness in the export market, increase net farm income and save taxpayer money, we feel this is the best option for not just the nation’s farm families, but for all Americans.”
To view the economic analysis data or for a thorough explanation of the bill, the historic data used in its development and full Congressional testimony presented to both the Senate and House agriculture committees, please visit the ACGA website — http://www.ACGA.org — or call 202-835-0330.