WASHINGTON (March 24, 2006) - In the wake of a year of weather-related disasters on the farm and with the 2007 budget and farm bill debates on the horizon, Texas Farmers Union members farmers and ranchers will be in Washington, D.C., next week to make sure Congress keeps rural needs in mind.
During National Farmers Union's legislative fly-in, March 27-29, farmers and ranchers from Texas will express their support for legislation that would provide comprehensive emergency disaster assistance for weather-related losses and increased energy input costs during 2005.
"In the wake of Hurricane Rita and brutal wildfires that have caused extensive crop loss, we need Congress to help us rebuild our farms and communities," TFU President Wes Sims said. Farmers Union members will also speak out against proposed budget cuts to agricultural programs in the 2007 federal budget. In February, President Bush delivered a budget proposal to Congress that cuts more than $5 billion from programs that help farmers and rural communities survive. National Farmers Union said that cutting these programs at a time when the rural economy is struggling is a serious mistake.
"President Bush is trying to balance the federal budget on the backs of Texas's hardworking family farm and ranch families while cutting for the wealthy," Sims said. "Our members will be here to remind their representatives in Congress that agricultural programs are not the cause of the record federal deficit and, therefore, should not be the primary solution." Participants will also urge legislators to extend the 2002 Farm Bill and its successful programs. The farm bill is set to be renegotiated in the next year, while members of Congress face the pressure to reduce the budget deficit and pending WTO negotiations, likely sending the farm bill in the wrong direction. For this reason, NFU supports extending the current farm bill for an additional two years.
"Rural Texas's economy has deteriorated at a rapid pace as a result of skyrocketing energy inputs, low commodity prices, looming budget cuts and weather-related disasters," Sims said. "Extending the 2002 Farm Bill for an additional two years will ensure continuation of our economic safety net to help us stay afloat in these tough times."
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