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American Corn Growers call for swift completion of Farm Bill

(Feb. 14, 2002 -- CropChoice news) Keith Dittrich, President of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA), todday commended Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee for his leadership in obtaining passage of the Agriculture, Conservation, and Rural Enhancement Act (S. 1731) before the U.S. Senate. Dittrich, a corn farmer from Tilden, Neb., also called upon both House and Senate leadership to facilitate a swift conference of their two farm bills and move forward to Presidential enactment.

"I commend Chairman Harkin for his leadership and perseverance in advancing his farm bill to this point," stated Dittrich. "We now ask him to continue in his endeavor and work as quickly as possible to iron out the differences with the House conferees."

Dittrich went onto explain that ACGA supported many initiatives in the Senate passed bill, including:

  • Higher support (loan) rates for marketing assistance loans,
  • Country of origin labeling for food products sold in the United States,
  • Disaster benefits for those producers who suffered unfortunate weather conditions last year,
  • The bill's Energy Title, and
  • More opportunity for domestic competition such as:
  • The ban on packer ownership of livestock, and
  • Expansion of the authority of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

"ACGA also supports directing more farm program benefits to smaller and moderate sized producers," added Dittrich. "But we hope the conference can find a more simple plan than that included in the Senate bill and if benefits are reduced for larger farmers, those benefits should be redirected toward those smaller and moderate sized operations. Unfortunately, the Senate bill fails in this regards."

"Over all, we see the Senate bill as the superior bill," explained Dittrich. "ACGA would have liked to have seen much higher support rates for the basic commodities and a Farmer Owned Reserve, but these goals will have to be pursued through another venue. What we need now is final action by the Congress and the President's signature."

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.acga.org