Waco, Tx. (February 7, 2002)-Farmers and ranchers from across the country were in Washington, D.C., February 3-6, 2002, in a grassroots effort to urge swift passage of a new farm bill. Members of the Texas Farmers Union (TFU) encourage policymakers to address the continuing recession in rural America.
"Family farmers and ranchers traveled to Washington to tell senators how important it is to pass a farm bill now," said Wes Sims, President of TFU. "Farmers, lenders and rural businesses are looking for certainty. Rural America needs to make decisions about its future. Swift action is necessary."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently predicted that farm gate prices would drop by nearly 20 percent this year if a new farm bill is not enacted. "If a farm bill is not passed in short order, farmers face the smallest safety net in decades," Sims said. "Meanwhile low commodity prices, a depressed rural economy, unfair trade practices and increased concentration in the food and agriculture industries continue to present challenges for America's producers."
Farmers Union is urging senators to enact farmer-friendly legislation that will eliminate the need for the tens of billions of dollars that have been needed under current legislation. In addition to a call for immediate action on the farm bill, TFU members asked senators to improve pending legislation that will target benefits to family farmers and ranchers, address competition issues, include a producer's bill of rights, create a voluntary flex-fallow program and improve the peanut program.
"In October of last year, farm gate prices took a record nose dive," Sims said. "Prospects look no better for this year."
"Time is running out on this planting season, and time is running out on the budget," Sims continued. "Rural America was bypassed by last decade's economic boon and our patience is running out. It is time to do what family farmers across the country want and need. It is time to finish the farm bill."
|Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556|