When I became Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in January of this year, I had one primary goal: to ensure that America’s farmers and ranchers have the policies in place that they need to feed, fuel, and clothe the nation while ensuring stability and consistency for farmers, ranchers, consumers, markets, and rural communities. After all, agriculture is the foundation of our livelihood and the lifeblood of rural America. And, while our work will never be done, we are off to a great start.
Farm Bill Conference Chairman Combest Focuses on Progress
April 18, 2002 – Late today, Senator Tom Daschle made the following statement hours after the House farm bill negotiators offered a compromise farm bill measure to Senators:
"Any successful negotiation requires the cooperation of both parties. Despite our willingness to compromise on the spending within commodity programs, reforms in livestock markets, and common-sense payment limitations in the interest of getting a good bill, our House colleagues have refused to reach an agreement."
The Chairman of the House-Senate Farm Bill Conference, Larry Combest, responded with the following:
Senator Daschle's statement is really mystifying. The House has proposed compromise in each of the elements in Senator Daschle's statement.
Why is it that the wheat producers like the House farm bill proposal? The corn producers insist Senator Daschle's proposed loan rates are too high. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and National Pork Producers oppose his livestock provisions. These are the producers he says need help. These are the producers who like the House proposal because it helps producers.
It is disappointing that Senator Daschle could take the position of failing to recognize our patient, repeated and recurring attempts to reach compromise on a good farm bill for producers.
House negotiators have compromised on dairy, peanuts, trade, nutrition, payment limits, rural development, country of origin labeling – and yes, conservation – even moving to meet Senate calls for their own favored conservation programs which move funding away from water protection measures like EQIP, that farmers across the country understand and support.
I agree with Senator Daschle's portion of the statement, "Producers are putting crops in the ground and they deserve some certainty on what shape farm programs are going to take and they need it now."
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