Below is a letter from a concerned citizen and farmer who shared his comments on the debate on the pending farm bill.
Dear Farm Policy Facts,
As an active participant in the farm policy debate it would be appropriate to say a few words to the folks on Capitol Hill before they make their final decisions in the farm bill.
For months, farmers have gone without a new farm bill and there have been multiple delays in the process. Now that there have been numerous reports in the news about high food prices, short food supply, and “hunger tsunamis” occurring all over the world, opponents of farm policy are asking Congress to weaken our safety net in favor of other programs.
It is understood that we need to invest in our nutritional programs and the bill before Congress does that. But there must be a balance. Let’s not destroy the mechanism that ensures food production. Farmers have taken the deepest cut in funds thus far.
United States food production is not automatic. It is the consequence of planning and support through farm bills that have been used to ensure continued food production. Further reductions in the commodity title to pay for other areas may seem wise to a hungry world today, but it is extremely short sighted and can only damage the great agricultural system we have in place now. Short sighted policies would only force farmers out of business, compounding the problems of tight supplies and high prices.
We should be having a discussion about adding incentives for producers to grow more in order to deal with food shortages, not disincentives. A strong commodity title is part of the answer to the world’s short food supply.
U.S. food production is exemplary and it makes sense for us to help feed other countries that have been hit by bad weather and are unable to grow. However, there needs to be a strong commodity title in the new farm bill if we are all going to beat this problem together.
Chairman, Louisiana Rice Producers Group
Grower of Rice and Soybeans