Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Farm Bill and emergency aid provisions

Startibune had a LTE on the issue today.

Every American is a stakeholder in the 2007 farm bill. That's why Bread for the World, the nation's largest faith-based grass-roots lobbying movement against hunger, will make farm-bill reform the focus of our 2007 legislative campaign. Improving the farm bill can make things better for farmers, and also for rural communities and hungry people.

Farm policy should start from the reality of today's rural America -- not that of the 1930s, when the original farm bill was crafted. It's time to create solutions that offer more equitable support for small and midsized U.S. farmers, strengthen rural communities, provide adequate and nutritious food for hungry people in this country, and help farmers in developing countries to support themselves and feed their families.

Rep. Collin Peterson has a historic opportunity to write a better farm bill -- one that meets the needs of all rural Americans, especially those who struggle with hunger and poverty. By supporting a better farm bill, Minnesotans have a historic opportunity to urge Congress, under Peterson's leadership, to turn this possibility of justice into a reality.


No doubt Congressman Peterson will have many groups like this urging him to add things that are needed to the Farm Bill.

What would I expect from a Congressman Peterson led Farm Bill?

Strong support for investment in renewable energy sources. Congressman Peterson is a champion on the issue.

Support to improve upon conservation programs. The Congressman has a knack for working across all sides of the issue, working with famers, environmentalists, and sportmen and women on the importance of comprehensive and progressive conservation programs. He knows that all sides are tremendous stewards for the environment.

Support the the sugar beat industry in Western MN and Eastern ND. It was one of the biggest reasons the Congressman opposed CAFTA. He gave a great address on the issue at St Cloud State a few years ago, after Mark Kennedy ducked the event.

We'll continue to see strong loan programs as well as stronger label of origin packaging requirements on imported foods.

The White House appears to be ready to veto a bill that would provide much needed relief to farmers and ranchers that faced financial hardships due to flooding and drought conditions across the nation.

North Dakota Democrat Kent Conrad was lead sponsor of disaster aid in the Senate and was expected to propose $4.5 billion to $5 billion in aid. Half of it would compensate farmers for crop losses that exceed 35 percent of normal. Ranchers would receive money to help pay for feed purchases. Congressman Peterson is taking the lead in the House.

On the heals of an article recently published talking about the possiblity of a White House veto on a disaster aid bill, Congressman Peterson is posied to do even better things for farmers and Minnesotan's alike.

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