Frustrated by inaction, the National Corn Growers Association joined with two other farmer-led organizations to call on Congressional leaders to take the right steps quickly on the 2013 farm bill, or extend the 2008 law.
“We very much hope that conferees on the farm bill will find common ground that can be supported by producers of all crops in all regions of the country,” representatives of NCGA, the American Soybean Association and the U.S. Canola Association wrote in a joint letter. “If such a resolution is not possible, we would support a two-year extension of the 2008 farm bill including, if necessary, a reduction in direct payments to achieve savings equivalent to the bills passed by both the Senate and the House. While difficult, this approach would leave sufficient funding in the commodities title to write a new farm program at such time as consensus can be achieved.”
The three organizations reiterated their strong opposition to recoupling payments to planted acres under a price-based program.
“A similar program during the 1980s caused major planting distortions when market prices fell below target prices,” they wrote. “The resulting production surpluses for certain crops required supply controls, including acreage set-asides and the Farmer Owned Reserve, which undercut producer income and disadvantaged U.S. exports in world markets.”
They noted that avoiding government-induced production surpluses and depressed domestic and world prices has reduced the vulnerability of U.S. farm programs to challenges under the WTO. They do not want to return to programs that could increase the likelihood of more lost trade cases, as occurred with the Brazil cotton complaint.
“In the event a new farm bill includes a provision that would tie payments under a price-based program to current-year planted acres, and as stated in our letter of July 26, 2013, our organizations will oppose its enactment. We very much hope this will not be the outcome of what has been a protracted and, unfortunately, divisive process.”