Commodity Organizations Oppose Gutting the Safety Net

November 20, 2007

Washington (Nov. 20, 2007)—Twenty-six organizations representing farmers and ranchers from coast to coast are calling upon the U.S. Senate to oppose an effort to gut the safety net provided to America’s farmers in the 2007 farm bill.

The November 16 letter urged Senators to oppose the Farm, Ranch, Equity, Stewardship and Health (FRESH) Act (S. 2228) as either a stand-alone bill or as an amendment to the 2007 farm bill and support. “The FRESH Act eliminates the current safety net provided to US producers…It is critical to remember that farm bills are written for the long-term rather than short-term,” the letter stated.

According to the groups, the commodity title of the farm bill has already been reduced by $57 billion: “All told, the commodity programs are projected to be about 10 percent of total farm bill spending, while more than 80 percent of the farm bill spending is already slated for nutrition and conservation programs.”

Trade is also a major concern for U.S. producers: “US farm policy should continue toward a more level playing field in the global market by providing assistance to America’s farmers. However, this goal is not achieved by writing a farm bill that complies with what someone assumes will be the potential outcome of the WTO negotiations.”

The letter concluded, “While we support strong conservation, nutrition, and energy programs, additional support for these programs should not come at the expense of adequate funding for the safety net for American farmers.”

The letter was signed by the following groups:

American Farm Bureau
National Farmers Union
National Association of Wheat Growers
Southern Peanut Farmers Federation
USA Rice Federation
American Soybean Association
Peanut Growers Marketing Cooperative
North Carolina Peanut Growers
Virginia Peanut Growers
American Beekeeping Federation
Rice Belt Warehouses Inc.
United Dairymen of Arizona
American Association of Crop Insurers
National Sorghum Producers
US Rice Producers Association
Crop Insurance Professionals Association
American Sheep Industry Association
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Western Peanut Growers Association
National Cotton Council
American Sugar Alliance
National Barley Growers Association
National Sunflower Association
USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council
US Canola Association
American Honey Producers Association