WACO, TX (August 2, 2001) -- The Texas Farmers Union (TFU) today urged the U.S. Senate to adopt the $7.4 billion emergency economic assistance for farmers and ranchers without further delay. The Senate began debate on the emergency aid earlier this week, and was hopeful to finish the legislation prior to the August recess.
The delay has been fueled by the Bush Administration's threat to veto the emergency farm assistance because it spends more than $5.5 billion, an amount previously passed by the House of Representatives. The administration seeks to provide roughly 85% of the amount program crop producers received in emergency economic assistance last year. The Senate Agriculture Committee increased the amount of assistance by $1.9 billion last week to ensure that the level of financial assistance was at least as much as was provided to farmers the previous year.
"Most farmers in Texas are in worse financial shape this year, because commodity prices are still well below the cost of production, plus they have been further squeezed by higher input costs for fertilizer, chemicals and fuel. To provide less assistance this year demonstrates a total disregard of actual market conditions and for helping rural America cope with the ongoing farm crisis. This is the fourth year in a row of extremely depressed corn, wheat, soybean and other crop prices--we need help now more than ever," said Wes Sims, president of the Texas Farmers Union.
"What the Senate ultimately decides may make the difference that allows many Texas farmers to stay afloat this year. The lower amount requested by the Bush Administration would mean millions of dollars less for Texas crop producers. In addition, the Senate package provides assistance to non-program crops such as sugar, dairy, honey, peas and lentils," added Sims. "This emergency package needs to be passed immediately and at the higher levels provided by the Senate Agriculture Committee."
|Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556|