Livestock Industry Presents Farm Policy Recommendations
(March 22, 2001)
Four segments of the livestock industry appeared before the House Committee on Agriculture today. Representatives from the poultry, beef, pork, and sheep and goat industries offered their recommendations for the future of America's farm policy. The common refrain heard from all four industries was "let the market work."
Testimony was presented on behalf of the poultry industry by Ms. Peggy Vining, Vice-President of International operations of Purdue Farms. The poultry industry believes that in order to remain competitive, farm policy must continue to be market-based. Their recommendations included:
· Continue principles of the 1996 FAIR Act, specifically planting flexibility and market-based pricing.
· A marketing loan program should be based on a market-based formula.
· A counter-cyclical program that maintains flexibility would not be practical. A better solution, according to the poultry industry, would be to ensure that AMTA-type payments are at a level that provides farmers sufficient income protection during the widest range of economic conditions.
· Funding for export promotion should be bolstered, and Presidential trade promotion authority should be renewed.
Ms. Barb Determan, President of the National Pork Producers Council, testified on behalf of the pork industry. The pork industry believes that the best commodity program would be one that allows U.S. corn and soybeans to be competitively priced in world markets and that does not jeopardize the industry's access to export markets.
· The pork producers support a counter-cyclical program, provided that the program allowed U.S. market prices for grain to move with world supply and demand.
· The pork producers continue to support the planting flexibility and the market-oriented approach of the 1996 FAIR Act.
Mr. Wythe Willey, President-elect of the National Cattleman's Beef Association, testified on behalf of the beef industry. The industry is concerned about government programs that inadvertently affect the price of feed grains or result in distorted market signals.
The beef industry opposes any measure that has a negative impact on beef, including
· Mandatory set-asides
· Production controls
· Farmer-owned reserve
· Non-recourse loan forfeitures leading to government stockpiles
· Supply management programs that would mandate dairy herd reduction.
Ms. Cindy Siddoway, President of the American Sheep Industry Association, presented the testimony on behalf of the sheep industry. Ms. Siddoway noted that the current market crisis in regards to wool, underscores the importance of emergency market loss assistance provided for 1999 and 2000 production.
A marketing loan and LDP program for wool was recommended. This program would be structured as follows:
· The loan rate would be set at $1.20 per pound average with a schedule of premiums and discounts to adjust for value differences.
· A recourse loan with loan deficiency payments.
· A basic minimum loan rate provision.
The mohair program would be similar to the wool program, with the loan rate being set at a recommended average $4.20/lb.