WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 – After a two-day meeting to try and find consensus on new farm programs, major farm and commodity groups issued a joint statement this morning, confirming their desire to work together and for Congress to write a new farm bill in 2012 , but making no mention of any specific agreement on a path forward.
"Over the past two days, producer leaders have met to discuss policy priorities, to hear the perspectives of key policymakers and to work toward consensus on the future of U.S. farm policy. What was confirmed in our meeting is that we are committed to work together to come up with a viable farm policy,” wrote representatives of the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, American Soybean Association (ASA), National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Sorghum Producers, USA Rice, U.S. Canola Association, National Barley Growers Association, National Sunflower Association, USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, and the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.
"Also confirmed is our common belief that Congress should pass and the President should sign a strong new farm bill into law this year. The law expires at the end of this year and producers – like all job creators – need certainty from Washington.
Most of the statement reflected on the important role that American agriculture plays in the U.S. economy and the need for a clear farm policy direction going forward.
"American agriculture has a solid record that we are proud of,” the statement continued.
"The people we represent ensure that American consumers spend less of their paycheck at the grocery than anyone else in the world.
"American agriculture stands out as one of the few sectors of the economy that has, throughout the economic downturn, still contributed positively to our nation’s balance of trade while helping to create jobs and put this country back on its economic feet.
"And we have accomplished these things with a farm policy that also stands out as consistently under budget over the past 10 years and for leading the way on deficit reduction, contributing disproportionately and in some cases even alone in the effort to get our nation’s fiscal house in order.
"The economy is fragile, unemployment is high, and Americans are worried. Given the need for economic growth and deficit reduction, for our part we have offered to do more with less. If Washington provides America’s farmers and ranchers with some certainty, we can continue to help lead our nation’s economic recovery."
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