COLUMBUS – Ohio Farmers Union President Joe Logan joined colleagues from around the country on Wednesday in opposition to the current version of the quadrennial Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Logan, a board member of the National Farmers Union, and other state presidents voted unanimously to oppose the Farm Bill recently passed out of the House Agriculture Committee. The bill has yet to make it the House floor for a vote. The NFU Board’s resolution also contained a list of suggested improvements to the bill.
“The House Farm Bill (H.R. 2), as currently written, lacks the improvements needed to help farmers cope with continued low prices,” said the NFU Board in a statement issued today. “The bill fails to provide farmers with the tools they need to be the best possible stewards of our natural resources, and it reverses progress toward expanding access to local, regional, and specialty markets. Furthermore, it makes unnecessary cuts to programs that feed hungry Americans. National Farmers Union’s Board of Directors, on behalf of nearly 200,000 family farmers, ranchers, and rural members, opposes H.R. 2 in its current form.”
“We are very disappointed that the House Ag Committee has turned a blind eye toward the urgent needs of farmers for a strong safety net and done likewise to the nutrition needs of America’s least fortunate in both rural and urban communities,” Logan said.
“The Congress and Administration have clearly demonstrated a willingness to explode the federal budget deficit by giving a $1.5 trillion tax cut to wealthy corporations and individuals. When rural America asks for a far more modest budget request, they can’t manage to find a way to lend a hand,” Logan added.
The NFU Board’s resolution contained the following potential improvements to the House bill:
- Increase PLC reference prices to improve the farm safety net and offset potential trade retaliation;
- Strengthen payment limitations and actively engaged requirements for Title I programs;
- Provide dairy farmers with enhanced price supports and a mechanism that manages our nation’s milk inventories to meet market demand;
- Ensure credit availability by increasing FSA’s overall loan portfolio;
- Maintain funding levels for consumer benefits under nutrition programs;
- Provide an incentive-based working lands conservation program that promotes improved stewardship;
- Restore mandatory funding for energy programs that promote development of the bio-economy in rural areas; and
- Reinstate mandatory funding for programs that improve access to local, regional, and specialty markets.