WASHINGTON (Nov. 6, 2007)—The farm bill unanimously passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee struck a delicate balance between numerous budget and political priorities and should not be weakened with amendments. That was the message to Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) in a letter sent yesterday from 23 farm organizations.
“With a very limited budget, the Committee was able to provide a solid foundation with which to move the 2007 Farm Bill forward,” the organizations wrote. “The package includes far reaching reforms on payment limitations, a new optional safety-net program asked for by some Midwestern growers, a traditional farm program package and more funding for specialty crop producers, conservation and nutrition programs.”
“Any attempt to weaken this balanced package could undermine the hard work of the Committee and leave producers and other stakeholders without an effective farm and food safety net,” the letter went on to read.
Signers of the letter included crop insurance providers, rural businesses, and producers ranging from beekeepers to rice farmers.
Lawmakers began debate over the 2007 farm bill yesterday. A series of amendments are expected over the next few days, including an amendment to reduce pay limits, an amendment to gut the country’s crop insurance industry, and a farm safety net elimination scheme similar to the House amendment offered by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).