Opening Statement: General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee Chairman Rick Crawford: Update on the financial health of farm country
Remarks as prepared:
This hearing on the financial health of farm country will come to order.
During the Farm Bill debate, we heard a good bit about the relatively high prices farmers were receiving for their crops, and the suggestion was made by at least some folks that it was as good a time as any to discontinue the Farm Bill.
Now that we are in year two of the Farm Bill, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the financial conditions in farm country today and assess what might have happened had those folks had their way.
Farm prices for many crops have dropped dramatically since the farm bill debate. Inputs costs continue to rise. Mother Nature continues to wreak havoc on some regions of the country. Foreign competitors are sharply increasing their subsidies, tariffs, and non-tariff trade barriers. And, sadly, even the U.S. government is adding hurdles for farmers and ranchers to overcome. The EPA is pushing new and costly regulations. Some in this country are standing in the way of critical tax relief, ranging from a permanent section 179 and bonus depreciation to repeal of the death tax. Some have even proposed to eliminate stepped up basis, which is absolutely essential to passing on the family farm.
Today's panel will provide valuable insights on how these and other factors are impacting America's farmers and ranchers and speak to the importance of U.S. farm policy. I am looking forward to hearing their testimony.
But, before we get to our first panel, I would like to recognize my good friend, the Ranking Member, for any opening comments he may have.