More Reaction to Senate Ag Farm Bill
Additional ag groups have now weighed in on the farm bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday. The National Cotton Council says the legislation would provide U.S. cotton producers with risk management tools that can provide support when conditions occur that are beyond grower control. Among other things - NCC Chairman Chuck Coley says the group is grateful that their Stacked Income Protection Plan and modified marketing assistance loan program were included. Both are designed to meet budget challenges and resolve the Brazil WTO case.
United Fresh says the Senate Ag farm bill answers the call of the fresh fruit and vegetable industry to build on the investments made in the 2008 Farm Bill. United Fresh Senior Vice President of Public Policy Robert Guenther says it's important the committee confirmed that investments in fruit and vegetable producers translate into a healthy industry from field to table while creating job opportunities and improved nutrition for consumers. The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance - of which United Fresh is a member - is also pleased with the committee's proposed farm bill. They say the measure includes key specialty crop industry priorities such as research, pest and disease mitigation, trade, nutrition and other programs that enhance the ability of producers to be competitive and meet the needs of American consumers.
There are concerns with the measure as well. NCC would like to see the legislation modified before it reaches the Senate floor to ensure program choices that meet the needs of rice and peanut growers are included. The cotton industry also has concerns with provisions regarding new lower payment limits, a significantly lower Adjusted Gross Income eligibility test and changes to the actively engaged in farming provisions used to determine eligibility for revenue and loan programs.
Chuck Hassebrook at the Center for Rural Affairs - on the other hand - applauds those specific changes. He says the Senate Ag Committee has passed a farm bill that for the first time in a generation closes gaping loopholes that have made a mockery of the farm program payment limitation. But Hassebrook would like to see limits applied to uncapped premium subsidies for federal crop insurance. He says crop insurance subsidies are highest when they're needed least.
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