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ACGA stands firmly opposed to grain imports

(Wednesday, May 21, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release.

Contact: Larry Mitchell, (202) 835-0330

WASHINGTON - May 20, 2003 - ACGA president Keith Dittrich recently commented on statements made by other commodity organizations who are trying to justify the importation of grain and oilseeds into the U.S. even when adequate domestic supplies are still available.

"It is certainly disappointing to hear of such justifications when even the talk of importing corn or soybeans in the past has severely damaged commodity prices," stated Dittrich. "It is even more upsetting given the serious risk of spreading diseases such as Asian Soybean Rust. The importation of this pathogen would have severe negative consequences to the soybean industry and corn producers as well."

"While it may be true that there may be a slight economic advantage to importing commodities as opposed to using domestic production in a few isolated parts of the country, it is also understood that any such action could cause severe repercussions to American farmers who provide the bulk of commodities to these companies. Isn't their any loyalty to the U.S. farmer anymore?" questioned Dittrich, "Given the global circumstances of the past year and the need for domestic security, one would think that these companies would be careful not to do anything that could risk an outbreak of disease or further damage our fragile economy here in the U.S.

"Corn exports are stalling," explained Dittrich, "with Marketing Year (MY) 2002/03 corn exports only projected to be about 1.6 billion bushels. Advocates of the current national farm policy and their 'think tanks' projected just a few years ago that the U.S. would be exporting 2.5 billion bushels of corn by now. These projections were also made by other farm organizations and national commodity groups that have and continue to support the export oriented U.S. farm policy which has been in place since the 1985 farm law. Based on official USDA export data records, those 'marketing expert groups' could not have hit the target if it was the broadside of a big barn. The evidence is in and their farm policy is an abject failure for U.S. farmers and rural America."

Dittrich went on to say that he hoped the agriculture community would ask hard questions to the promoters and defenders (especially national commodity groups) of grain imports into the U.S., before long-term economic farm income damage has been done. He also went on to say that if an outbreak of soybean Asian Rust disease did occur, the importing companies should be held financially accountable to U.S. producers as a class.