Farm Organizations United as Farm Bill Goes to the U.S. Senate

August 8, 2007

CALIFORNIA (August 8, 2007)—At the American Sugar Alliance’s 24th International Sweetener Symposium, farmers from across the country came together to pledge a common goal of supporting a strong 2007 farm bill. The bill passed the House of Representatives on July 27.

With the Senate slated to take up the legislation in September, key agriculture groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Cotton Council, the American Sugar Alliance, USA Rice Federation, the National Association of Wheat Growers, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, fruits and vegetables, and many others have endorsed a strong farm bill.

“The House farm bill is a good bill and all of agriculture must come together to push a strong bill through the Senate,” National Farmers Union President Tom Buis said at the Symposium.

“The House bill protects the safety net for farmers and ranchers while providing a solid foundation of reform—it’s the bill our members need,” Buis said. “The NFU is actively working with the Senate to ensure that we can pass strong legislation in the Senate.”

“For the first time, the farm bill recognizes the priorities of an industry that accounts for more than half of all the crop value in the nation,” said Autumn Veazey of the United Fresh Produce Association. “This legislation represents a great achievement for specialty crop producers.”

Also attending the Symposium was former Texas Congressman and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest, who applauded current Committee Chairman Collin Peterson’s work on the bill. “What’s been amazing to watch is the unparalleled unity among virtually all agriculture groups in calling for a strong 2007 farm bill.”

For the first time in recent memory many farm leaders and commodity groups who differ on policy initiatives have found a common ground. As long-time National Journal agriculture reporter Jerry Hagstrom recently wrote, even in the face of a veto threat from the White House, “farm groups of every ideological stripe and interest have praised [the farm bill].”

A July 24 letter from 79 farm leaders and organizations representing growers, ranchers, insurers and other key constituencies called upon Congress to reject any attempts to weaken current farm policy, “which has saved American taxpayers $25 billion and ensures that all Americans continue to enjoy the world’s safest and most affordable food supply…” To view the entire letter use this link.

“U.S. agriculture is an economic driver, employing 20 percent of the nation’s workforce and contributing $3.5 trillion to the nation’s economy annually—supportive policies should not be weakened.”