WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2012- The House Committee on Small Business hosted a roundtable with several agriculture representatives today to discuss priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill. 

Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said he wants to use his committee to advocate for agriculture and small producers. He and other Republican leaders in the committee emphasized their goals in the area of regulatory reform. 

“When you have more and more regulatory burdens, that profit margin gets narrower and narrower,” Graves said. “We’re trying to push back on some of the regulatory problems we have and try to reform this process.”

The discussion, titled “The Interests of America’s Small Businesses in the Next Farm Bill,” included the National Corn Growers Association, United Fresh Produce Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, International Dairy Foods Association, American Soybean Association, National Pork Producers Council, Dairy Farmers of America, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Close to 50 percent of our members meet the criteria for small businesses, and the Farm Bill is critical to their ability to create and maintain jobs, which contribute to their local economies,” said United Fresh president and CEO Tom Stenzel in a press release. “It’s encouraging to see Congress thinking about our industry’s views from the perspective of us being small business owners and operators and we’ll continue to remind Congress that the produce industry is a job creator.”

Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) noted International Dairy Foods Association President Connie Tipton’s concerns with regulatory burdens on the dairy processing industry. 

“We all know we need a safe food supply in this country,” the congressman said. “But we need to be very cautious in terms of burdening them and making sure we’re not over-taxing them.”

Tipton noted that more than 750,000 small businesses in the U.S. are responsible for employing 21 million Americans, but that policies like the capital gains tax place an unnecessary threshold that burdens small businesses. He dismissed the President Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposal as “not recognizing the role small businesses play” in the nation’s economy. 

As well as explaining the role small business plays in their industries, the agriculture representatives outlined their priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill. Congressman Tipton said he heard the most about protecting crop insurance, research and development, and conservation. 

“I heard a consistent message about research, conservation and crop insurance, but in every case, they brought up regulations on business,” Tipton said. “These are small operations that want to focus on doing their jobs.” 


For more news, go to www.agri-pulse.com