Series of Farm Policy Hearings Comes to a Close

May 3, 2001

Series of Farm Policy Hearings Comes to a Close
National Farmers Organization calls for a Strategic Food Security System

(May 3, 2001)

The House Agriculture Committee wrapped up an extended series of hearings designed to examine the current state of our nation’s agricultural economy today. The National Farmers Organization was the last of 15 organizations that have taken up the Committee’s challenge to present detailed policy proposals regarding the future of American farm policy.

Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas) explained that "Now it is time for this Committee to digest these many ideas and work to produce a farm policy that is the best possible solution for the economic conditions facing American producers today." Combest continued, "This will not be an easy task, but the Members of this Committee are dedicated to the American farmer, and I am confident that when all is said and done, we will find a solution that will sustain a strong and vital agricultural sector for America’s future."

Ms. Linda Reineke, Grain Department Director of the National Farmers Organization (NFO), presented testimony on behalf of the NFO. Recommendations of the NFO included the following:

· The NFO believes that it is essential for the current marketing loan provision of the farm bill be changed to a “price support loan”, thus eliminating LDP’s and marketing gain payments. NFO believes this has the potential to generate a savings of $20 billion.

· The NFO supports H.R. 32, the flexible fallow program introduced by Rep. Bereuter. This bill as a price support loan, instead of utilizing the marketing loan, according to the NFO, would discourage farmers from planting more than the market is demanding as is determined by market prices.

· Implementation of a Strategic Food Security System (SFSS). A SFSS combined with a price support commodity loan would:

1) Provide consumer security in the grain system for industrial, feed and food usage;

2) Be price supportive for the agricultural commodities;

3) Save taxpayers as much as $20 billion through reduced payments to farmers.

The SFSS would consist of two parts:

1) It would be structured with a target price to be achieved on grains before the grains in the SFSS could be released.

2) Farmers would be paid for the costs of storage and maintaining quality of the grain.

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