1,054 Diverse Groups Urge Veto Override

May 15, 2008

WASHINGTON (May 15, 2008)—More than 1,000 farm, nutrition, and conservation organizations sent a letter to Congress today asking legislators to override President Bush’s veto of the bipartisan farm bill passed last week.

Industry insiders noted that this letter was even larger than a similar group letter sent to Congress last week by 557 groups urging passage of the bill.

“Communities across the nation, from urban to rural have been waiting too long for this legislation,” the letter read. “The Conference Report makes significant farm policy reforms, protects the safety net for all of America’s food producers, addresses important infrastructure needs for specialty crops, increases funding to feed our nation’s poor, and enhances support for important conservation initiatives.”

Signed by major commodity groups, ag lenders, churches, conversationalists, and hunger organizations, the letter admitted: “This is by no means a perfect piece of legislation, and none of our organizations achieved everything we had individually requested. However, it is a carefully balanced compromise of policy priorities that has broad support among organizations representing the nation’s agriculture, conservation, and nutrition interests.”

Congress passed the farm bill last week by a 3-to-1 margin—more than the 2-to-1 margin that is necessary for a veto override. Despite its overwhelming approval, the White House vetoed the bill today. Congress is expected to vote to override that veto this week.

“Again, we urge you to support communities across America by voting to override the veto of the 2008 Farm Bill Conference Report,” concluded the group letter, which is thought to have more signatures than any Congressional letter ever sent on an agricultural issue.