Washington (September 15, 2006)- Texas Farmers Union(TFU) members joined nearly 250 farmers and ranchers from across the country in Washington, D.C., this week for National Farmers Union's legislative fly-in. Participants urged congressional members to extend the 2002 Farm Bill, pass immediate emergency disaster assistance, support renewable fuel production and advocate on behalf of fair trade, not "free trade."
"Personal office visits gave us the opportunity to take rural America's concerns to Washington," TFU President, Wes Sims said. "We were able to explain to members of Congress the vital need to protect our farm safety net through an extension of the 2002 Farm Bill, the importance of receiving adequate disaster relief for struggling producers, and urge them to support renewable fuels and fair trade."
Fly-in participants asked Congress to extend the 2002 Farm bill, which is set to expire in 2007. They told Congress that it is essential that they act deliberately in drafting a new farm bill, having gathered the input of food and fiber producers nationwide.
"Given the current economic, political, and international trade climate, now is not the time to rewrite this crucial piece of agriculture policy," Sims said.
Participants also reminded Congress that agriculture producers are dealing with extreme disaster from coast-to-coast. In addition to the devastation caused by last year's hurricane season, farmers have faced significant losses to crop and livestock operations as a result of fires, flooding and drought. Due to a presidential veto threat and opposition from the House leadership, the FY2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill failed to include comprehensive, nationwide emergency disaster relief for all producers. Farmers Union is urging Congress to pass emergency assistance this fall before it leaves for November recess.
"We were thrilled to be able to discuss these issues, while reminding our representatives to keep encouraging the use and production of fuels from the farm, and need to support international trade policies which promote a fair and level playing field for farmers and ranchers," Sims said.
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