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Agricultural News

American Farmers and Ranchers Participate in NFU Legislative Fly-In

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 16:53:39 CDT

American Farmers and Ranchers Participate in NFU Legislative Fly-In Farmers Union members heard from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at a briefing this morning to discuss the 2012 Farm Bill. The briefing marked the beginning of National Farmers Union's (NFU) Fall Legislative Fly-In, where nearly 250 members from across the country will meet with legislators and discuss organizational priorities for the upcoming farm bill.

There are eight American Farmers and Ranchers members from Oklahoma, led by AFR President Terry Detrick, participating in the Fall Fly-In in Washington, D.C. AFR, formerly known as Oklahoma Farmer Union, is particpating in the Fall Fly-In with NFU, as well as, working with the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, who also have a delegation in D.C. this week. Click on the LISTEN bar below to hear our conversation with Detrick on what AFR's priorities are in D.C.

"Agriculture is a bright spot in our economy, with exports and net farm income at record highs and total farm debt declining," said Vilsack. "This is a major achievement and a testament to our farmers and ranchers, who continue to work hard, innovate and make smart business decisions in these challenging times. As we work to create jobs and strengthen small businesses, we need a Farm Bill that maintains a strong safety net and gives America's farm and ranch families the support they need to continue to thrive and out-compete the rest of the world."

Farmers Union members will highlight the importance of including a strong safety net in the next farm bill.

"We will likely not have as much money to write the next farm bill as we have for previous farm bills," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "Because of that, we have to focus on our top priorities, like protecting family farmers and ranchers during difficult times. Having our grassroots members meet with the policymakers face-to-face is invaluable because it gives family farmers and ranchers an opportunity to discuss the real problems they face on a daily basis. These are the people that farm programs should be designed for, and they are the reason it is so important to ensure that we maintain a strong safety net."

During the fly-in, NFU will also unveil a study by the University of Tennessee that suggests policy initiatives that would reduce government payments to farmers and ranchers without reducing their safety net.

"This study will be extremely important in helping guide the policy discussions as we look ahead to the next farm bill," said Johnson. "With today's budget situation, we must find creative solutions to protect farmers and ranchers. Some of the key findings from the study, like price stability provided by farmer-owned reserves, will help reduce commodity price volatility."

Fly-in participants will hear from other USDA officials and White House officials, and visit every member of Congress during the three-day event.



Ron Hays and Terry Detrick discuss AFR's top priorities in Washington
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