Resolved: That the United States should substantially change its federal agricultural policy.

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Source: CongressDaily/A.M., Oct 3, 2000 pNA.

Title: Glickman Says Payments To Farmers Reach Record $28 Billion.(Brief Article)

Full Text COPYRIGHT 2000 National Journal Group, Inc.

WASHINGTON -- Oct-3 -- (CongressDaily) Agriculture Secretary Glickman said Monday that government payments to farmers had reached a record $28 billion in FY2000 and that federal farm benefits of all types made up 50 percent of farm cash income. He also said it would be "positive" if the Democrats take control of Congress and rewrite the farm bill next year, rather than waiting until 2002, when the current law expires.

At a news conference marking the end of the government fiscal year, Glickman said the payments raised questions about current farm policy, but he was glad the government could make the payments. "Tens of thousands of farmers would have been forced out of business," he said.

Glickman added he did not "begrudge" the farmers the payments, because "without that assistance we would have had chaos, we would have had devastation in rural America." Without the government payments, Glickman said, farm income "would have crashed to its lowest level since 1984." Glickman said the categories included in the $28 billion are Freedom to Farm payments, loan deficiency payments, emergency aid and Conservation Reserve Program payments for idling land.

Asked by CongressDaily about a statement by House Agriculture ranking member Charles Stenholm, D-Texas, that if the Democrats take charge of the House and Stenholm becomes chairman of the Agriculture panel, he will try to rewrite the farm bill next year rather than in 2002, Glickman said he thought that would be a "positive" idea.

In what appeared to be an argument he may make in rural districts on the campaign trail, Glickman said he believes that a rewrite of the farm bill is more likely if the Democrats take back Congress than if the Republicans retain control. If the Republicans are in charge, he said, they will remain wedded to Freedom to Farm until 2002, when the current farm bill expires.

Asked his view of congressional proposals to double the $75,000 limitation on farm program payments to individual farmers, Glickman repeated earlier statements that the Clinton administration has no formal position on the matter. However, he said that if Congress decides in the FY2001 Agriculture appropriations bill to double the payment limit, it "would not be a deal breaker."

Asked about the impact of the high government payments on trade talks, Glickman said they "shouldn't have any," because the trade talks are concerned with payments that are either production or trade distorting, and most of the U.S. payments are not. The United States will be within its World Trade Organization limit of $19 billion per year in commodity support, Glickman said, but the figure could move closer to the limit in future years. -- Jerry Hagstrom


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