Kind-Flake Would Leave Farms in Financial Ruin

July 23, 2007

WASHINGTON (July 23, 2007)—The farm bill plan introduced by two extremist members of the House of Representatives, Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), would devastate rural economies and farms across the country, according to a study released today by the Agriculture and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M.

All crop farms and nearly all dairy farms could expect to see a decline in cash receipts, net cash income, and net worth under a Kind-Flake policy, the study reported.

But if there are even modest price declines, rural America better brace for a farm financial crisis reminiscent of the 1980s.

Nearly all crop farms would see a drop in cash income and net worth by more than 25 percent if prices fall even modestly, the Texas A&M researchers told a group of Capitol Hill staffers who received a sneak peak at the study on Friday.

“Most of the farms and ranches would not be able to survive the erosion in farm income,” the report found.

Another study is expected to be released this week showing even worse results for America’s dairy and sugar farms under a Kind-Flake farm bill.

This dooms-day outcome explains why rural America is mobilizing strong opposition to any farm plan bearing the names Kind-Flake.

The Capitol switchboard has started lighting up with calls from energized American farmers and ranchers, and many have left their farms and ranches to walk the halls of Congress to make their case face-to-face.

“The Kind-Flake farm scheme is about destruction, not reform,” said Jessie Breaux, a Louisiana farmer who recently made the rounds on Capitol Hill. “Lawmakers must realize that gutting this country’s farm policies will only bankrupt American farmers and threaten America’s food security.”

Last week, the House Agriculture Committee unanimously rejected the Kind-Flake approach and instead passed a farm bill that has been widely celebrated by leaders in the agricultural industry, see Useful Links.

This bill, HR 2419, now moves to the House floor, where Reps. Kind and Flake are expected to offer an amendment or series of amendments to weaken U.S. farm policy.

A summary of the Texas A&M study can be found here.