NCC Grateful for Senators’ Payment Limitations Opposition
NCC Woods Eastland expressed appreciation to Senators Chambliss (R-GA), Lincoln (D-AR), Talent (R-MO), Cochran (R-MS), Pryor (D-AR) and their bi-partisan coalition of Senators from across the country who successfully thwarted a damaging and divisive payment limitations amendment.
MEMPHIS – National Cotton Council Chairman Woods Eastland expressed appreciation to Senators Chambliss (R-GA), Lincoln (D-AR), Talent (R-MO), Cochran (R-MS), Pryor (D-AR) and their bi-partisan coalition of Senators from across the country who successfully prevented a damaging and divisive amendment to change current payment limitations on farm programs from being added to the Senate’s budget reconciliation legislation.
The NCC and virtually every commodity and farm organization had urged rejection of the Grassley-Dorgan amendment, which was defeated today by the Senate on a procedural vote.
“The proponents of this amendment are apparently determined to drive a wedge between different segments of agriculture,” Eastland said. “It is especially unfortunate that organizations supporting the amendment misled farmers and the public by asserting that the change would benefit family farmers, when in fact there were no provisions to increase investment in family farms or in the production of food and fiber.”
Eastland said, “in fact, the unintended result could have been to dramatically reduce participation in conservation programs as farmers and rural businesses would have struggled to make ends meet in the absence of an effective safety net while costs escalate. USDA would have been hard pressed to implement and administer the new requirements without imposing costly requirements on farmers and disrupting orderly marketing decisions.”
Eastland stated that, “as U.S. producers face energy costs that have more than doubled and as the United States faces a critical juncture in international trade negotiations, we can ill-afford damaging changes in payment limitations that will undermine the effectiveness of the 2002 farm bill. Chairman Chambliss and the Senate Agriculture Committee developed a set of budget savings that are equitable and ensure the 2002 farm bill continues to be effective for production agriculture. The proposed payment limit amendment discriminates among different sized agricultural operations, changing the field of competition in the United States to the detriment of southern agriculture. We are pleased with the Senate’s actions and urge the House of Representatives and the Conference Committee to reject any similar amendments.”