Southern Farm Groups Say Timely Completion of Long Term, Comprehensive Farm Bill CriticalFri, 29 Nov 2013 10:06:26 CST
The National Cotton Council was joined by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and USA Rice Federation in expressing appreciation of the continued efforts of the leaders and members of the House and Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee to complete work on a new comprehensive, multi-year farm bill – but the groups reiterated their opposition to extending current farm law.
The groups stated they know the process of compromise is challenging and many of the differences in policy are deeply held but it is imperative for the Committee to make the tough decisions and complete work on legislation as soon as possible. It is necessary to our nation’s farmers and rural communities so they both have the certainty necessary to make long term investments to remain competitive. New farm legislation also is needed to resolve a longstanding trade dispute with Brazil to end the trade retaliation threat that would adversely affect U.S. exports.
They said that although the differences are deep and difficult to resolve, the option to abandon the process and extend current law, albeit with modifications, is not an acceptable alternative. That option would: 1) leave farmers without predictable policy, 2) affect the budget baseline and the ability to ever write new legislation and 3) likely provoke trade retaliation. Certainly every organization has the right to advocate for its position but establishing intractable demands is a recipe for failure and a tactic that many believe has led to gridlock on key legislation including the budget, appropriations and immigration.
The groups noted that agriculture has a long history of bipartisanship and legislative accomplishments. The Conference Committee has before them two pieces of legislation that have been years in development and subjected to rigorous independent analysis. That analysis has consistently verified that the two bills show only relatively small differences in aggregate impacts on commodity markets. With these two bills, the foundation for compromise and agreement has been laid.
The time for decisions is now – not next year or the year after that, the groups stated. Now is the time to resolve outstanding trade disputes. Now is the time to provide U.S. agriculture with the stability of a multi-year farm bill and let the extraordinarily competitive energy of the sector once again seek opportunities that ultimately serve this nation with the safest, affordable and secure food and fiber supply that is the envy of the world. Now is the time for a new farm bill. We believe the current leaders of the Agriculture Committees can meet the challenge of reaching compromise on long term policy and we urge them to ignore any calls to abandon their effort.
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