WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 23, 2001) - Wes Sims, Texas Farmers Union President, a Nolan County farmer, recently returned from four days of meetings with members of Congress to unveil National Farmers Union's (NFU) new legislative proposal to restore prosperity to American agriculture and rural communities.
Sims joined farmers and ranchers from across the country for NFU's grassroots effort in Washington, D.C., where participants pressed lawmakers for swift and decisive action to enact legislation that allows producers to receive a reasonable income from the marketplace, provides an adequate budget for the department of agriculture, and ensures adequate emergency assistance and a safety net.
"The fly-in was an excellent opportunity for us to bring our concerns directly to lawmakers," said Sims. "We called on Congress to enact legislation that takes into account the true costs of production and the real value that we provide to our communities, our country and the world. I think our message was one they were ready to hear. I look forward to seeing their efforts as they address the challenges facing America's producers."
Sims met with members of Congress and the administration, including Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Chief Economist Keith Collins, and Congressmen Charles Stenholm, Ken Benson, Marion Berry, Senators Phil Gramm, Don Nickles, Kent Conrad, and others. Farmers Union's legislative initiative provides a strong farm safety net based on a counter-cyclical plan that equalized commodity loan rates by adjusting them upward and provides other assistance measures and incentives that take into account the rising costs of production and depressed commodity prices faced by America's family farmers and ranchers.
Also included are proposals for commodity reserves for humanitarian assistance, renewable fuels and supplemental risk management, a supply management proposal giving the agriculture secretary authority to establish a voluntary set aside program; and provisions to protect dairy farmers with adequate price supports and from illegal and trade-distorting uses of imported Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC).
"We need real solutions to the many economic, social and environmental challenges facing America's farmers and ranchers," Sims said. "I hope our presence helped inform and inspire Congress to pass a sound farm package for family farmers and ranchers."
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