Farm groups stake their ground on future budget cuts

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



TAMPA, Fla., March 5 - Some of the nation's largest commodity organizations went on the record this weekend as being in full support of reducing the nation's deficit and debt, but called for all entitlement and discretionary spending to be on the line-not just agriculture. In a joint statement, they also noted that agriculture represents just one-half of one percent of the federal budget and already made a $4 billion contribution to deficit reduction last year.

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The statement reads:

“Farmer members of the American Soybean Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Corn Growers Association and the National Sorghum Producers are meeting at Commodity Classic to determine policies that reflect their priorities in 2011 and beyond. Among these priorities, we recognize that reducing federal deficits and the national debt is critical to putting the American economy, including U.S. agriculture, on a sound course for future growth and prosperity.

“We note that agriculture made a down payment in cutting spending when the Department of Agriculture directed $4 billion in savings under the Standard Reinsurance Agreement for federal crop insurance toward deficit reduction. We believe any further reduction in discretionary spending should recognize and reflect this contribution. We would also note that agriculture-related programs represent less than one-half of one percent of the federal budget.

“Looking forward, we believe any meaningful approach to deficit and debt reduction in the FY2012 budget must encompass all entitlement programs and all discretionary spending. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to develop a budget that successfully addresses the need for federal deficit and debt reduction balanced with the need of ensuring a successful agricultural economy.”

The statement was signed by presidents of the four groups: National Association of Wheat Growers President Jerry McReynolds, a wheat producer from Woodston, Kan.; National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott, a corn grower from Kulm, N.D.; American Soybean Association President Alan Kemper, soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind., National Sorghum Producers Chairman Gerald Simonsen, a sorghum grower from Ruskin, Neb.

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