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New farm bill aids farmers, taxpayers and the environment

by 5m Editor
30 July 2007, at 7:33am

WASHINGTON, DC - The 2007 Farm Bill, approved today by the House on a 231-191 vote, will strengthen the competitiveness of the US pork industry, according to the National Pork Producers Council. The American Farm Bureau Federation has also given it a thumbs-up.

The Council threw its support behind the $286 billion, five-year Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007. It will moderate and balance reforms to US farm policy yet maintain a safety net for farmers and livestock producers. It will also help to expand investments in conservation, nutrition and renewable energy programs.

“The House bill will help pork producers remain competitive in the global marketplace,” said NPPC President Jill Appell, a pork producer from Altona, Illonois. “And being competitive means producers can sustain the profitability they’ve enjoyed now for 40 consecutive months.”

The legislation includes conservation and energy titles that recognize pork producers’ role in protecting the environment and in contributing – through, for example, technologies to convert methane to energy – to the country’s energy security and provides a boost to US pork exports by increasing funds for the Market Access Program. It also maintains baseline funding for the commodity and conservation titles; reauthorizes the farm safety-net components; keeps loan rates, counter-cyclical and direct payments in accord with the 2002 Farm Bill; increases funding for conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program; and includes much-needed fixes to the Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling law.

“The US pork industry wants a 2007 Farm Bill that maintains producers’ competitive advantage in the global marketplace, that strengthens their competitiveness and that protects producers from initiatives that would adversely affect their livelihoods, such as mandates on production practices,” Appell said. “The House bill achieves those goals, and NPPC is pleased to offer its support for the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007. We look forward to the Senate passing a similar bill.”

AFBF praise for skilled bill
The American Farm Bureau Federation says the bill is skillfully crafted. It beleives it more effectively balances support programs across all types of crops and gives farmers the opportunity to enroll in a “revenue-based counter-cyclical program,” that could prove more responsive to addressing their economic challenges.

Both agriculturalists, and the Government, see this as real reform because the new bill addresses the concerns of taxpayers, increases support for agricultural environmental programs and balances the diverse needs of America’s family-based food and fibre production system.

“It strikes a reasonable balance in allocating benefits among our nation’s farming and ranching families who grow a safe and secure supply of food and fibre for America and the world. Rep. Peterson walked a tightrope in developing this legislation in the House Agriculture Committee. He did an outstanding job of shepherding it through the House for approval,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.

He said that after much debate the final bill was indicative of the level of strong support for continuing a basic level of public investment to ensure a secure and reliable domestic food supply for American consumers.

“This farm bill benefits all sectors of agriculture, including new support for fruit and vegetable producers, and it provides real policy reforms. For the first time in recent history, no additional funding is provided for commodity programs. But at the same time, the bill meets the needs of more of America’s farmers by providing $1.6 billion in new funding for specialty crop research, conservation, pest and disease programs, and nutrition," added Stallman.

The bill will delight America’s taxpayers because it is fiscally responsible - spending $20 billion less than the former farm bill.

Greater emphasis is placed on support for nutrition, energy security and rural communities. There is also more funding available to help farmers take better care of the nation’s natural resources. It should encourage individual farmers to produce crops demanded by the marketplace while at the same time delivering better economic protection against the many uncertainties they face.

The new legisaltion also includes assistance to address the needs of young and new-entrant farmers, and has provisions to help farmers grow crops for the production of home-grown renewable fuels, which are to be supported, said AFBF.

5m Editor