Farmers to Appropriators: Don’t Touch Farm Bill

June 8, 2009

WASHINGTON (Jun 08, 2009)—Members of the agricultural community have a money message for Congress – don’t pull funding from the 2008 farm law in budgeting for the year ahead.

Forty-three organizations, among them the nation’s largest farm associations, crop insurance providers, and agricultural lenders, petitioned the House Appropriations Committee in a letter last Thursday to keep funding intact in drafting the fiscal year 2010 Agriculture Appropriations measure.

Existing farm law, their letter states, represents a delicate balance of resources. The organizations urged the Budget Committee earlier this year not to modify that structure.

“We expressed our strong opposition to the more than $16 billion in cuts to the farm safety net proposed in the President’s fiscal year 2010 budget,” the letter explains. “These included another new revenue test for program eligibility, significant modifications to the crop insurance program, changes to highly effective conservation programs, the termination of certain storage credits and a reduction in export promotion programs.”

Making changes just two years into a five-year farm bill would undermine the law’s potential and force a slowdown before the law even hits its stride. Farmers would have to revamp their business plans mid-cycle. Their lenders would feel the pinch too.

The letter urges that for maximum effect, Congress should not alter the carefully structured components of the bipartisan farm bill. These include commodity, payment eligibility, nutrition, conservation, risk management, renewable energy and trade and research provisions.

Signers of the letter maintain the final budget resolution can achieve savings without siphoning farm law funds.