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Peterson Comments on Hearing to Review the State of the Farm Economy

Washington, March 4, 2020

Good morning and welcome to today’s hearing to review the state of the farm economy. Welcome also to our witness, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who will talk about where he sees the farm economy going in the coming year, as well as what’s going on over at the Department.

Today we are also welcoming the newest member of the committee. Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small from New Mexico’s second Congressional District has joined us. Coming from a rural, border district with a significant agricultural presence, we are lucky to have her perspective and experience.

We’ve seen the farm income numbers come out for 2019. If it weren’t for payments to farmers through the Market Facilitation Program and disaster payments, farm income would have been in the tank last year. A farm economy propped up by payments from the government isn’t a healthy farm economy.

I really hope the markets return to normal. But the President’s comments about a third payment also don’t give me a lot of hope that we’ll see tangible benefits from these new trade deals anytime soon. That’s a promise that the Administration made to farmers, and without it, the farm economy isn’t going to recover.

I told you last year that I appreciated you always shooting straight with us, Secretary Perdue, so I’d like to hear from you today on how you view the state of things and how to make sure the farm economy recovers and thrives like we all want it to.

 

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