October 15, 2001
The Honorable Tom Harkin
Senate Agriculture Committee
328A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman:
We appreciate your efforts to move forward with a farm bill. We have stressed the urgency of completing the farm bill this year. Your dedication brings us closer to attaining this goal and providing needed assistance to America’s farmers and ranchers. The House passed a farm bill that provides a fair and equitable allocation of an additional $73.5 billion in spending without reducing the benefits provided from otherwise currently available budget authority. We urge you to develop a farm bill that allocates the total funding for each of the various titles at the House-approved levels.
Those funding levels provide well-balanced assistance to producers of crops, livestock, and fruits and vegetables. The levels that were established have provided significant increases to all titles especially conservation, rural development, trade, research and nutrition programs. Conservation received an 80 percent increase in funding over previous levels. We believe using these established levels as a framework will provide continuity to the process leading to a successful farm policy.
We also urge you to consider the farm bill as a package. While we appreciate that you are beginning the mark-up as early as this week, we are concerned by the concept of a piece-meal approach. It will be difficult to support portions of the bill without information on the farm policy and conservation titles.
Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to working with you and the Committee in providing an equitable farm bill this year. As you begin your work and develop legislative language, we request that you make it available as soon as possible for review and input.
American Farm Bureau Federation
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Cotton Council
National Grain Sorghum Producers
National Milk Producers Federation
Rice Millers’ Association
U.S. Rice Producers Association
U.S. Rice Producers’ Group