Foreign Competitors Seek Advantage Over U.S. Growers

April 15, 2010

WASHINGTON (April 15, 2010)—Even though federal spending on farm policy continues to come in under budget, U.S. farmers continue to come under attack. Most recently, crop insurance-an essential component of the farm safety net-has found itself in the Administration’s crosshairs.

But these internal attacks seem to be isolated to the United States. One of America’s biggest agricultural competitors, the European Union, is working overtime to back its growers.

According to the international news outlet AFP, “EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos argued Monday that the economic crisis justified the need to keep a strong aid policy for Europe’s farmers.”

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy,” the article continued, “said last month he was ready to risk provoking a ‘crisis’ in European relations in his efforts to defend EU farm subsidies that French farmers have enjoyed for over 40 years.”

The EU subsidizes its growers at a higher level than America. European programs were spotlighted in a foreign subsidy handbook compiled one year ago by Texas Tech University.

Larry Combest, the former Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said recent posturing by the EU and aggressive actions by Brazil targeting American farm policy underscore the need for U.S. officials to remain strong in defending the domestic farm safety net.

“It would be disastrous to unilaterally disarm—not just from a competitive standpoint, but because our hungry world needs the U.S. farmer,” he said. “As we head into debating the 2012 farm bill, lawmakers must keep rural America strong and must defend funding in all parts of the safety net.”