WASHINGTON, July 26, 2013 – Three agriculture-related groups sent a letter today to the leaders of the House Agriculture Committee and the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee reiterating their position in opposition to a farm bill containing a risk management program that would tie planted acres to fixed reference or target prices.

The American Soybean Association (ASA), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), and the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) sought to make clear that their position in favor of “more market-oriented farm policies” would not change as both chambers prepare their respective bills for a potential conference in September.

The groups said they would oppose any program that “would distort planting decisions in years when prices fall below support levels, resulting in surplus production of certain commodities, reduced acreage for smaller crops, depressed domestic and international market prices, and potential WTO actions against the U.S.”

“Soybean farmers simply cannot afford a farm bill containing a risk management program that, through its own design, could actually create more risk for growers by distorting market signals,” said ASA President Danny Murphy. “There is no question that this is a job that needs to get done, and there are many programs in each bill with which we agree, but we can’t let the need to pass a farm bill be an excuse for policies that place farmers at greater risk.”

ASA Chairman Steve Wellman said his organization has been in constant contact with the top congressional leaders in both committees and has pressed the need for approval of a five-year farm bill this year.

“We’re talking to all the parties. We met with all of them two weeks ago,” Wellman said. He noted there has been uncertainty about possible movement toward a conference.

NCGA President Pam Johnson said that while her organization is pleased the farm bill process has advanced, that NCGA “remains extremely concerned about a fixed-target-price program recoupled to planted acres that moves U.S. farm policy away from the market-oriented reforms that have made possible a robust rural economy.”

Johnson said her group’s goals “have always been to ensure that the federal crop insurance program remains the cornerstone of the farm safety net and that there are market-oriented risk management tools that best complement the federal crop insurance program.”

USCA President Ryan Pederson said canola has emerged as an alternative to winter wheat in the Southern Great Plains, but that the effort would be at risk it prices fall and support prices are tied to current year plantings.

“Farmers will likely revert to the crop they know rather than the crop they are learning to grow,” Pederson said.

The full letter can be viewed here.


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