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Agricultural News


Senators Call on Leaders to Include Farm Bill in End of Year Fiscal Deal

Fri, 14 Dec 2012 03:37:11 CST

Senators Call on Leaders to Include Farm Bill in End of Year Fiscal Deal One Third of the US Senate has signed a letter, asking Senate leadership to include a five year farm bill in any "Fiscal Cliff" deal that develops here at the end of the calendar year. The group of 33 lawmakers are mostly Democrats, but several strong farm state Republicans have also signed the letter- including formers Ag Secretary Mike Johanns, Former Senate Ag Committee Chairman Richard Lugar of Indiana who leaves the Senate at the end of year and the Junior Senator from Kansas- Jerry Moran.

Specifically- the Senators say the farm bill deal that should be dropped ought to be the Senate passed bill- "With each passing day, the difficulty of enacting a farm bill before the end of this Congress grows. Congress must do the responsible thing and pass a full, five year reform farm bill. Accordingly, we urge you to consider folding in the Senate’s strong bipartisan bill in any end-of-year package."

Here is the text of the actual letter sent to the Senate leadership- along with the list of all Senators who signed onto the letter.

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:

Last June, the Senate came together and passed a strong bipartisan farm bill that would help producers manage risk, create jobs and reduce the deficit and debt. It was not an easy task, but members from both sides of the aisle came together and passed farm policies that cut the deficit by over $23 billion while making smart, common-sense reforms that ensure the farm safety net works for both the American taxpayer and the American agricultural producer.

Our country’s farmers and ranchers produce the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in the world, and they need strong farm policies to ensure they can continue providing our nation with a safe and reliable food source. Thankfully, the 2008 farm bill coverage for most programs extends throughout the 2012 crop year. But as the 2012 harvest rolls to an end, farmers and ranchers are already working with their bankers to plan for the 2013 crop. In many parts of the United States, they have already seeded their 2013 winter wheat.

Agriculture supports over 16 million jobs in our country and is the heart of many rural economies across the United States. In order for our farmers and ranchers to plan for their future, it is imperative that we provide them the certainty of a full five-year farm bill. While our farmers produce a domestic supply of food, fiber and fuel, American agricultural products also contribute to a trade surplus. Just this year, the U.S Department of Agriculture reported that agriculture exports for fiscal year 2013 are projected to reach a record of $143 billion in 2013, resulting in an agricultural trade surplus of over $26 billion.

While the increase in agriculture exports is welcomed news, our producers are still struggling from the extreme drought, spring deep freeze, and other weather disasters across the country this past season. To date, 2,196 counties are currently under primary USDA drought disaster designations. As the historic drought conditions persist, farmers could suffer from the impacts of the drought in the 2013 crop year as well. Congress has serious challenges to meet before the end of the year; however, including the farm bill can help us cut the debt and create jobs.

With each passing day, the difficulty of enacting a farm bill before the end of this Congress grows. Congress must do the responsible thing and pass a full, five year reform farm bill. Accordingly, we urge you to consider folding in the Senate’s strong bipartisan bill in any end-of-year package.

American farmers and ranchers put affordable food on our tables, bring in dollars from around the globe with their world-class products, and continue in our strong agricultural tradition. These are some of the hardest workers in the United States, and it is our turn to show them Washington is fighting for rural America.

Sincerely,

Senator Max Baucus
Senator John Hoeven
Senator Al Franken
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Mike Johanns
Senator Michael Bennet
Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Senator Tim Johnson
Senator Richard Lugar
Senator Tom Udall
Senator Daniel Coats
Senator Claire McCaskill
Senator Chris Coons
Senator Kent Conrad
Senator Jerry Moran
Senator Herb Kohl
Senator Pat Leahy
Senator Robert P. Casey Jr.
Senator Ben Nelson
Senator Jeff Merkley
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Mark Udall
Senator Jon Tester
Senator John Kerry
Senator Chuck Grassley
Senator Joe Lieberman
Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Olympia Snowe
Senator Benjamin Cardin
Senator Mark Begich
Senator John Thune
Senator Susan Collins



   

 

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