Farm Bill ‘Shortchanged’ by ‘Short-Sighted’ Admin. Proposals

February 11, 2008

WASHINGTON (Feb. 11, 2008)—More than 20 farm organization told lawmakers today that they oppose including provisions in a final version of farm bill that “fall outside” of the provisions contained in the versions approved by the House and Senate.

“We fully believe the new farm bill must not be shortchanged,” the farm groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union, wrote in a letter to the leading Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.

“The Administration’s opposition to providing adequate revenue to fund the new farm bill is short-sighted for American agriculture,” they explained, pointing out that the budget for farm programs has already been reduced by 60 percent compared to current law.

“Further, the Administration is insisting on policy provisions that were considered and rejected by both of your committees,” the letter went on to read. “[O]ur organizations will not support legislation that is inadequate in protecting the future of American farmers and ranchers.”

The groups also stressed the need to complete the farm bill process by March 15, when the current farm bill expires. “Farmers and ranchers are currently operating in the dark,” the organizations wrote.

The House and Senate are expected to begin reconciling differences between their two farm bills soon. The Senate named its representatives to the farm bill conference last week, and the House is expected to announce its conferees this week.