Letter to Key Senate Committees Regarding Agriculture Disaster Assistance

The NCC and other organizations joined onto a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate agriculture and appropriations panels urging them to oppose any efforts to delete the agricultural disaster assistance provisions from the FY06 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill when it is considered by the full Senate.

Published: February 27, 2002
Updated: April 25, 2006

The Honorable Saxby Chambliss
Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, Chairman
United States Senate
328 A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Thad Cochran
Appropriations Committee, Chairman
United States Senate
S – 128 Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, Ranking Member
United States Senate
328 A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


The Honorable Robert C. Byrd
Appropriations Committee, Ranking Member
United States Senate
S – 125A Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Chambliss and Chairman Cochran, Senator Harkin and Senator Byrd:

On behalf of the below signed organizations, we are writing to urge you to oppose any efforts to delete the agricultural disaster assistance provisions from the FY06 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill when it is considered by the full Senate.

Virtually every state in the nation has been impacted by significant weather related and disaster losses.  About 80 percent of U.S. counties were declared disaster or contiguous disaster counties last year due to devastating hurricanes, fires, floods, excessive moisture and severe drought.  Besides heavy crop and livestock losses and increased production costs associated with rapidly escalating input costs, many producers also face contaminated fields and infrastructure losses that pose serious, long-term challenges to economic recovery.

We appreciate recent supplemental assistance offered to help some of the victims of the 2005 hurricane season.  Unfortunately, this assistance is not available to all farmers and ranchers who suffered devastating losses due to hurricanes.  Furthermore, none of the supplemental assistance is available to producers who suffered significant economic losses to crop and livestock operations as a result of fires, flooding, drought, excessive moisture and the record-high energy costs brought on by natural disasters.

Because of the urgent need for disaster assistance and the widespread losses which span the country, we believe the provisions in the supplemental appropriations measure are crafted in a manner that offers producers the combination of supplemental direct assistance and production loss assistance that is both timely and tailored to meet all disaster-related losses.  Many producers need assistance within weeks to repay loans and secure new financing in time for spring planting, so prompt action on this measure is vitally important given that traditional production loss assistance can take up to six months.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

Sincerely,

Agricultural Retailers Association
Alabama Peanut Producers Association
American Beekeeping Federation
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Sheep Industry Association
American Soybean Association
American Sugar Alliance
Farm Credit Council
Florida Peanut Producers Association
Georgia Peanut Commission
Independent Community Bankers of America
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Barley Growers Association
National Corn Growers Association
National Cotton Council
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Farmers Union
National Sorghum Producers
National Sunflower Association
Southern Peanut Farmers Federation
USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council
USA Rice Federation
US Canola Association
US Rice Producers Association
Western Peanut Growers

cc:
U.S. Senate
Secretary of Agriculture Michael Johanns