WACO, TX - The Texas Farmers Union (TFU) today acknowledged House and Senate action to set aside $7.1 billion for income assistance initiatives for farmers and ranchers. However, TFU President Wes Sims, stated that this level of assistance is without a doubt totally inadequate to meet the ongoing economic crisis in agriculture.
"Because of record low farm prices, another assistance package for agriculture is absolutetly essential," said Sims. "Still, we are concerned that this agreement provides assistance at a level lower than that of last year's package. It fails to identify funds for weather-related crop failures that we know will come to several regions of the country."
The agreement, which is the result of a compromise between the Republican House and Senate budget proposals, sets aside $5.5 billion for direct payments to be paid this year. TFU believes that this assistance is insufficient given the prospects for continued pressure on commodity prices, higher fuel cost and lower AMPTA payments.
Additionally, TFU challenges the authorizing committees in Congress to implement policies that result in greater program equity for producers and more effective distribution of this assistance than has occurred under the Freedom to Farm Act as a result of two prior emergency packages. Assurances need to be made that aid will be provided in a more timely fashion to farmers and ranchers according to need.
"The destructive impact of extremely low commodity prices for the last three years is taking a heavy toll on rural America," said Sims. "We are pleased Congress provided additional assitance in the budget, but I don't believe it is enought to address the problems. I am disappointed that they didn't do better."
|Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556|