Morning 1 at Agriculture’s Promise

April 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

Chuck Conner, President of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

In 1980, issues target price level, loan rate on corn, import tariffs.  Today, the issue is cost of environmental regulation, antitrust issues, and international trade.  There are over 3 billion people to feed over next 2 decades. Most of these people will be internationally.  We can’t meet those needs without policies, breaking trade barriers, improving transportation infrastructure.  One of the biggest challenges – a lot of people think American agriculture is about very small farms – as in backyard gardens.  The idea that that garden can feed 3 billion people is a joke.  We need to change legislation’s focus.  W all the challenges we face in agriculture, policy that’s not conducive to meeting the food challenges in this world, trade problems, environmental – how do we get farmers, ranchers, agriculture business people to stand up on behalf of ull-time and commercial agriculture?

Whitney Varett, senior Legislative Asstant handling all Agricultural legislation, energy, and environmental policy in Congressman Mike Rogers’ office

We work in a dwindling industry, so there are a dwindling number of people familiar with agricultural issues.  To them, food comes from grocery store.  They have no idea what goes into producing food for this country.  Get to know congressmen & senators & let them know your concerns.  Politicians can’t do anything about it if they don’t know what’s going on. It’s ot just ag committee that effect policies that affect your lives.  Some try to move money from farm to other initiatives like food stamps, but without agricultural money, we’ll have no food for food stamps.  We’re not the dominant industry anymore, so we have to work harder to make our voices heard.

John Hayes, Farm Credit Council

There’s not a lot of activity at the state level for agriculture.  It would be great if every state had a local producers council to influence governor or state agricultural reps. In order to make a difference, you need a mass of people.  The ag census is  very important, major set of numbers that policy makers use, a little over 60% of 2.1 farms in the us have less than $10,000 in sales.  Ag is economically segments, but emotionally fragmented.  Not the same issues.  Ag is broad.

More from Whitney Verett

Cap & Trade will affect energy costs and place a tax on “dirty” industries which include power generation, specifically coal plants.  The southeast would be hard hit because alternative options are not as readily available in that part of country like solar & wind.  The southeast doesn’t have a lot of options – no credits for nuclear or hydro industries.  People’s energy bills would increase a lot, including cost of fertilizer and diesel fuel.  The ag industry would be hit hard.  We got some concessions in House due to leadership of Chairmen Peterson, but not enough.  It’s currently hung up in the Senate.  Everybody’s focused on Nov. elections, so not a lot will get done this year with that bill.


Entry filed under: Agriculture's Promise 2010, NYFEA info. Tags: , , , , .

A great way to start any morning Excerpts from Michael Scuse, FAS/USDA

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