Commodity organizations call on Congress to support farm safety net

Commodity growers are asking Congress to stand by the 2008 farm bill.
Commodity growers are asking Congress to stand by the 2008 farm bill.
Commodity growers associations across the country spoke out against President Obama's proposed 2010 budget last week, due to a provision that would phase out the direct payments for farms with annual sales over $500,000.

Farms with sales over the half-million-dollar mark, which doesn't include costs such as for farm equipment, represented nearly 75 percent of all agricultural production in the United States last year.

That fact was pointed out by the USA Rice Federation as it urged Congressional leaders in Washington to stand by 2008 farm bill, which doesn't expire until 2012.

"The farm bill is less than a year old and not even fully implemented, and already contains cuts in direct payments," the federation said in a press release.

Citing the economic downturn, volatile prices in the commodities markets and weather-related crop losses, commodity growers said the safety net that direct payments provide are essential to agricultural production in the U.S.

"The small investment in agricultural programs by the federal government provides an excellent return for the American people," the presidents of several growers' associations said in a letter.

Signatories to the letter included the presidents of the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Sorghum Producers and the American Soybean Association.