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American Corn Growers convention reaffirms support for higher commodity loan rates, other critical family farm needs

(March 19, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- At its tenth annual national convention held recently in Washington, D.C., the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) reaffirmed support for passage of the Agriculture, Conservation and Rural Enhancement Act (S. 1731) and called for fast action in the Senate and House Conference Committee.

"Our convention adopted a special order of business calling on the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives farm bill conference committee to include the Senate Bill's higher support (loan) rates in commodity marketing assistance loans along with updated farm yields and bases," says Keith Dittrich, a farmer from Tilden, Neb. and president of the ACGA. "Our convention further acknowledged the fact that low commodity loan rates do not increase U.S. corn exports but do increase the cost of farm programs, a reality that should be recognized by the farm bill conference committee," added Dittrich. "It is time for Congress to reverse course by accepting the fact that low commodity prices are a dead end path and it is time to stop the U.S. farm policy experiment by reversing the failed direction that the 1996 "Freedom to Farm" has taken us."

"ACGA's special orders of business reaffirmed our strong support for keeping the Senate farm bill provisions that ban the packer ownership of livestock and expand the authority of the Packers and Stockyards Act, which is essential to restoring competition in the marketplace. Country of origin labeling was recognized as being of paramount importance as well, a point clearly demonstrated to our convention during a presentation by Mike Stumo, General Counsel for the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM). Additionally, we reviewed a Farm Foundation 2001 national farmer survey showing that 98 percent of U.S. farmers support country of origin labeling," said Larry Mitchell, CEO of the ACGA.

The ACGA convention included a number of round tables covering a wide range of issues of importance to corn growers and the future of rural America including:

  • A farm bill roundtable with ACGA policy analyst John Dittrich, ACGA director of legislative affairs David Senter and Mike Stumo of OCM,
  • A wind energy roundtable including Phil Dougherty of the U.S. Department of Energy, Jamie Steve of the American Wind Energy Association, ACGA program director Dan McGuire and Dan Juhl of DanMar and Associates, developer of a major wind power generation project in Minnesota,
  • A corn utilization roundtable with Todd Sneller of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, Pat Tracy of Prime Technologies, Charles Limbach and Claude LaPoint of Dell-Pointe, Inc., Doug Durante of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition and Jim Solheim of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, and
  • A Farmer Choice - Customer First report on the export market impacts of genetically modified crops (GMOs) by ACGA program director Dan McGuire.

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