Resolved: That the United States should substantially change its federal agricultural policy.
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|Source: CongressDaily/A.M., July 13, 2000 pNA.
Title: Farm Bureau Head Wants Permanent Payment Program.(Brief
Full Text COPYRIGHT 2000 National Journal Group, Inc.
WASHINGTON -- Jul-13 -- (CongressDaily) American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman Wednesday told the House Agriculture Committee that the Farm Bureau still opposes raising the marketing loan rates but favors establishing a permanent program of countercyclical payments for farmers and ranchers.
Stallman later told reporters that the Farm Bureau has not decided what form of countercyclical program it would support, and he noted that the increased Freedom to Farm payments Congress has passed amount to a countercyclical program.
At a House Agriculture Committee hearing to receive testimony from the four largest general farm organizations--the Farm Bureau, the National Farmers Union, the National Grange and the National Family Farm Coalition--Stallman said the Farm Bureau still favors the planting flexibility and marketing provisions of Freedom to Farm.
But in a change of tone from previous Farm Bureau testimony, Stallman said, "Increased agricultural exports are not the only solution to improving net farm income." Stallman also indicated Farm Bureau backing of the dairy price support program and dairy compacts.
In addition, Stallman urged Congress to extend the New England-based Northeast compact to include Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania and to authorize a dairy compact for the Southeastern states.
Meanwhile, Agriculture ranking member Charles Stenholm, D- Texas, called Freedom to Farm a "fiscal failure," because Congress has provided $18.75 billion in emergency payments for income loss.
Stenholm also noted that of the 1999 net farm income of $44 billion, $20 billion came from direct government payments; of that, $8 billion was for emergency income loss. He questioned whether Congress would continue to provide such aid and urged development of a comprehensive policy.
Agriculture Chairman Combest said farmers in his Texas district realize "they are still in farming because of the assistance provided." But he said non-farmers "do not understand" what would happen to rural economies if the assistance were stopped.
On a related note, Senate Agriculture Chairman Lugar has announced his panel will hold four hearings before Congress recesses in late July.
A Lugar statement said the Senate Agriculture Production and Price Competitiveness Subcommittee would hold a hearing on agricultural export programs next Tuesday. The release also said the full committee will hold hearings on the implications of high energy prices for U.S. agriculture next Thursday; on the federal sugar program July 26 and on an international school lunch program proposed by former Sen. George McGovern, D-S.D. -- now U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization -- July 27. -- Jerry Hagstrom