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Farm groups warn Congress of catastrophic loss of family farms, offer solutions for a better Farm Bill

(Dec. 4, 2001 CropChoice news) The following press release comes from the American Corn Growers Association.

National Farm Action Campaign
2001 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
(515) 282-0484
FAX (515) 283-0031

Contact:

  • George Naylor: (515) 544-3464
  • Kathy Ozer: (202) 543-5675
  • Larry Mitchell: (202) 835-0331

Des Moines, IA - As the inside-the-beltway debate over farm policy hits the floor of the U.S. Senate this week, farmers across the nation are raising serious concerns about the future of families that produce the food in this country.

"Last year, the United States lost 20,000 family farmers while Cargill and ADM posted record profits, subsidized by billions of taxpayer dollars," stated George Naylor, an Iowa grain farmer. "Unless the full Senate significantly improves the farm bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee, we will see more of the same corporate gouging and the hemorrhaging in the countryside will only accelerate."

"America's farmers, ranchers, and consumers desperately need a farm bill that provides long-term food security for our nation and economic security for farmers, stated Helen Waller, a Montana rancher and wheat farmer. "While the Senate Ag. Committee bill minimally increases market prices for farmers, it will not cover farmers' cost of production. This farm bill will continue the current policy of relying heavily on unsustainable taxpayer subsidies to prop up the farm economy."

"What we witnessed last month as the Senate agriculture committee debated its farm bill clearly illustrates the influence corporate agribusiness has on the policy-making bodies of our government," stated Larry Mitchell of the American Corn Growers Association.

Farmers point to last month's defeat of the Competition Title introduced by Chairman Harkin. The Competition Title was a new provision of the farm bill designed to mitigate the effects of corporate concentration in food production and its impact on competition. Of all the provisions in the Title, which were supported by dozens of family farm organizations, only country-of-origin labeling made it into the final Senate Agricultural Committee bill.

The National Farm Action Campaign called for massive grassroots pressure by farmers, taxpayers and consumers to show their opposition to the current Senate proposal. "We can't let this go down without a fight," said Bill Christison, a Missouri farmer and President of the National Family Farm Coalition. "Farmers from across the country will be demanding true farm bill reform now and during the reconciliation of legislative proposals moving between both houses of Congress."