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Corn Growers call upon Bush, Veneman to support disaster legislation for farmers

(July 11,, 2002 – CropChoice news) -- In a letter signed by a coalition of farm organizations, Keith Dittrich, president of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) and a corn farmer from Tilden Neb., called upon Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman to support pending emergency legislation for farmers and ranchers hard hit by natural disaster both in the 2001 and 2002 crop years.

The letter commended Veneman for the Department of Agriculture’s "timely announcements and actions in addressing the weather- and disease-related disasters experienced by crop and livestock producers during the 2001 and 2002 agriculture production years, but recognized the authority and resources available to mitigate the losses sustained by farmers, ranchers and rural businesses are sorely inadequate given the full scope of the weather and disease problems confronting American agriculture."

"We call on all farm organizations to support this initiative," said Dittrich. "It is puzzling that 22 organizations sent a letter to Congress this week demanding that there be no further reductions in payment limitations, while a majority of those groups have chosen not to be a part of our initiative to provide assistance to farm families hard hit by natural disaster. I would hope all organizations could put as much effort in providing for those stricken by disaster as they spend in protecting the largest of their producers. I would also hope everyone understands the fact that if you don't make a crop, payment limits don't mean much, while disaster assistance means everything."

"Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Senators Max Baucus, Tim Johnson, Conrad Burns and others have provided the leadership and initiative to provide emergency assistance, but without leadership from Secretary Veneman and President Bush on this issue, they will not be able to provide this much needed assistance," concluded Dittrich.

In addition to ACGA, National Farmers Union, American Sheep Industry Association, American Beekeeping Federation, Vidalia Onion Business Council, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, U.S. Canola Association, R-CALF, USA, National Turkey Federation and the National Grange signed the letter.

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. See http://www.acga.org