Series of Farm Policy Field Hearings Soon Draws to a Close

May 3, 2000

Throughout Farm Country, Confidence, but Not Consensus for Policy Change
Sioux Falls, South Dakota — Planting among Northern Plains and Northern California producers this week occurred in field hearings as well as the fields, as farmers planted ideas for farm policy with House Agriculture Committee Members, as region-by-region hearings progressed to the seventh and eighth in the series of 10 hearings.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX) and Ranking Minority Member Charlie Stenholm (D-TX) noted the positive response from 160 witnesses and more than 2,000 in the audiences from the eight field hearings held nationwide since March.  Agriculture Committee Members convened panels on May 1 in Sacramento, California and May 2 from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

"Producers are keenly interested in the results of our soon-to-be-concluded package of House-Senate crop insurance reforms that offer realistic protection and expanded safety net for revenue and livestock coverage," said Rep. Combest.  "Where farmers have been most helpful is in confirming their support for the flexibility of production decisions, tax fairness and broader trading markets for American agricultural products.  The value of these discussions with producers is that in the absence of giving us a consensus for any specific policy change, they have signaled their confidence in the Ag Committee Members' efforts to work for a consensus."

"I appreciated the opportunity to receive further input, including the chance to hear from the authors of several specific proposals that I hope the Committee will consider further," said Rep. Stenholm.  "We also continued to see overwhelming support amongst producers for efforts to normalize trade relations with China, as well as discontinuing the use of food as a unilateral foreign policy tool."
Field hearings conclude in Boise, Idaho May 12 and Peoria, Illinois May 13.  Producers can listen-in to the hearings as they occur from the Committee's web site.