TIFTON, Ga. – The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, The National Cotton Council and the USA Rice Federation appreciate the continued efforts of the leaders and members of the House and Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee to complete work on a comprehensive, multi-year farm bill. The Georgia Peanut Commission, Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association and Mississippi Peanut Growers Association are all members of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.
The groups stated, “We know the process of compromise is challenging and many of the differences in policy are deeply held but it is imperative for the Committee to make the tough decisions and complete work on legislation as soon as possible. It is necessary to our nation’s farmers and rural communities so they both have the certainty necessary to make long term investments to remain competitive. New farm legislation also is needed to resolve a longstanding trade dispute with Brazil to end the threat of retaliation that would adversely impact US exports.”
The organization leaders said, “Although the differences are deep and difficult to resolve, the option to abandon the process and extend current law, albeit with modifications, is not an acceptable alternative. It would leave farmers without predictable policy, it would impact the budget baseline and the ability to ever write new legislation, and it would likely provoke retaliation. Certainly every organization has the right to advocate for its position but establishing intractable demands is a recipe for failure and a tactic that many believe has led to gridlock on key legislation including the budget, appropriations and immigration.”
The groups noted that agriculture has a long history of bipartisanship and legislative accomplishments. The Conference Committee has before them two pieces of legislation that have been years in development and subjected to rigorous independent analysis. That analysis has consistently verified that the two bills show only relatively small differences in aggregate impacts on commodity markets. With these two bills, the foundation for compromise and agreement has been laid.
The time for decisions is now – not next year or the year after that. Now is the time to resolve outstanding trade disputes. Now is the time to provide U.S. agriculture with the stability of a multi-year farm bill and let the extraordinarily competitive energy of the sector once again seek opportunities that ultimately serve this nation with the safest, lowest cost and nutritional food supply that is the envy of the world. Now is the time for a new farm bill. We believe the current leaders of the Agriculture Committees can meet the challenge of reaching compromise on long term policy and we urge them to ignore any calls to abandon their efforts.
The Georgia Peanut Commission represents 3,500 peanut farmers in the state of Georgia and carries out programs in the areas of research, promotion and education. For legislative information from the Georgia Peanut Commission, visit www.americanpeanuts.com. For additional information on the programs of the Georgia Peanut Commission, visit www.gapeanuts.com.