Farm groups: Let the Agriculture Committees decide on spending cuts
By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, July 13 - Leaders of the nation's leading corn, soybean and wheat organizations want lawmakers to know that agriculture has already contributed to deficit reduction and any further cuts should be made by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.
Those are just some of the key messages that leaders of the American Soybean Association (ASA), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) agreed to during meetings this week, said ASA President Alan Kemper.
“As we go to Capitol Hill, we want members to understand that they shouldn't do arbitrary cuts. We support deficit reduction, but any cuts should be done by the agriculture committees,” explained Kemper.
Senate Agricutlure Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich, spoke to ASA members Tuesday afternoon and told them that the federal crop insurance program, which took a $6 billion hit last year, is unlikely to be cut again. However, she warned that direct payments could be cut substantially, Kemper said.
“Crop insurance is a huge priority as a risk management tool for the future,” Kemper added.
In addition to talking to lawmakers about farm bill spending, Kemper said ASA members will be working hard for passage of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Korea, Panama and Colombia. The original deals were signed more than four years ago under President George W. Bush.
President Obama is expected to submit the FTA's within days, but Senate Republicans remain opposed to inclusion of Trade Adjustment Assistance in the implementing legislation for the U.S. Korea FTA. House and Senate staff members say they continue to talk to the Obama Administration about a path forward to move all three trade agreements.
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