WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2013—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today sent a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate conference committee on the farm bill outlining the top recommendations of America’s farmer-owned businesses in the legislation.
“Of primary importance, the farm bill must preserve the long-standing rural-urban alliance that reinforces the fact that food security, investment in rural America and a safety net for those in need are priorities benefitting the entire nation,” the letter states. “Key to the success of this conference committee will be emphasizing those issues that unite producers, regardless of commodity or location, rather than those issues that divide agriculture.”
The letter urged the conference committee to ensure that any final report include a meaningful and equitable safety net for producers across all commodities. In particular, NCFC urged support for the dairy reform provisions that are contained in the Senate version of the farm bill and that are supported by dairy farmers of all sizes and in all regions of the country.
Another important aspect of the safety net, the letter emphasized, was maintaining the strength and viability of the crop insurance program. In particular, NCFC expressed its opposition to means testing or income limits for participation in the program.
Turning to other parts of the farm bill, NCFC expressed its strong support for Section 9013 of the House bill, which would eliminate duplicative permitting requirements for pesticide use imposed by a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in 2009. This legislative language is nearly identical to the Senate’s bipartisan Sensible Environmental Protection Act of 2013 (S. 802).
“American farmers and ranchers and the co-ops they own must have the certainty of a comprehensive five-year farm bill that provides the flexibility, resources, tools and technologies needed to meet the challenges of a growing world,” the letter concludes. “Farm bills need to be forward looking, ensuring that we plan for tomorrow, when times may not be so good, rather than for today.”
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