Growers of Different Crops Come Together to Press House on Farm Bill

The American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association and U.S. Canola Association have sent a letter to lawmakers to urge the quick consideration and passage of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act. The letter notes the support of the organizations for many of the programs included in the bill as reported by the House Agriculture Committee. The groups state their strong support for provisions in the bill that would consolidate conservation programs, make improvements in federal crop insurance and reauthorize and fund agricultural research, energy and export promotion programs. They ask that the legislators oppose any amendments that would eliminate or weaken those provisions.

The groups note concern with the Price Loss Coverage program option - which they argue would set high, fixed reference prices for program crops that - in some cases - exceed their historical prices and cost of production and tie payments to producers to crops they grow in the current year. They say this could distort planting decisions and production if market prices fall below their support levels. The groups say the PLC program should be modified to make it responsive to the market rather than the government. According to the letter - a potential amendment from Ohio Representative Bob Gibbs would address their concerns by setting reference prices at a percentage of recent average market prices - which do not exceed production costs - and providing for payments on historical crop acreage bases rather than on current-year plantings. These changes - the groups write - would make the PLC program more market-oriented and significantly reduce the risk of distorting planting decisions and production.

ASA President Danny Murphy says growers are encouraged by the momentum the farm bill has going into the House. He expresses confidence that lawmakers can work together to pass a bill that supports agriculture and confronts our budgetary obligations responsibly. NCGA President Pam Johnson says the passage of a comprehensive, market oriented farm bill is critically important to not just agriculture - but every American. She says growers encourage the House to adopt policy that will be responsive to taxpayers and effective in helping farms remain viable and productive.

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