U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) have released a draft of their bipartisan Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM). The House Ag Committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow, July 11th, to review this legislation.
The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation (SPFF), representing 80% of U.S peanut production, is pleased with the House Agriculture Committee proposal. SPFF Chairman Armond Morris, a Georgia peanut producer and Chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission, stated "We would like to thank the Chairman and Ranking Member for their commitment to agriculture. Our producers want a farm bill that provides a safety net yet is fiscally responsible. The House proposal is a balanced bill for all regions of the nation and for all commodities. Rural America and all consumers need this bill to move forward in the Congress before the current law expires."
The SPFF is comprised of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, the Florida Peanut Producers Association, the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association and the Georgia Peanut Commission.
Chairman Lucas stated, "I'm pleased to release this bipartisan legislation with my friend and colleague Collin Peterson. Our efforts over the past two years have resulted in reform-minded, fiscally responsible policy that is equitable for farmers and ranchers in all regions and will lead to improved program delivery. This bill is an investment in production agriculture and rural America. Those of us in the agriculture community are quick to point out that our producers provide us with the safest, most abundant, most affordable food and fiber supply in the history of the world. We say it because it's true. This legislation is a commitment to maintaining that tradition."
Carl Sanders, President of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, commented, "This bill provides a safety net for our peanut producers. We appreciate the efforts of the Chairman Lucas, Congresswoman Roby and our peanut state representatives reaching out to our industry to determine the best possible proposal."
“There have been numerous discussions with Committee members on behalf of peanut growers in regards to the 2012 Farm Bill,” said Randy Griggs, executive director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. “The results of the talks have been very favorable in regards to safeguarding our farmers. We are optimistic about the Committee meeting. Senator Sessions and Senator Shelby supported us in the Senate which passed a bill that is not the best for peanut growers. If the House passes their proposal it will give them something to work with in the conference committee.”
Larry Ford, President of the Florida Peanut Producers Association, stated, "Peanut producers, from the beginning of the Farm Bill debate, have recognized the need for reform and budget savings. The elimination of direct payments is a significant contribution to this process. FARRM repeals direct payments as well as other programs, saving tax payers billions of dollars. The Federation is looking forward to continuing to work with Chairman Lucas and the House Ag Committee to create a Farm Bill that is fair for all regions of this country."
"We are excited about the growth of the peanut industry in Mississippi. This bill is a balanced farm bill that protects our producers yet is fiscally responsible," said Joe Morgan, President of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.
The proposal offers producers an option to choose between price and revenue protection.
A few highlights of the FARRM bill include-
*FARRM saves more than $35 billion in mandatory funding.
*FARRM repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs.
*FARRM cuts billions in discretionary spending authority.
*FARRM repeals Direct Payments, Countercyclical Payments, ACRE, and SURE, replacing these four programs with a policy that will save taxpayers more than $14 billion.
*FARRM consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, improving program delivery to producers and saving taxpayers more than $6 billion.
*FARRM provides regulatory relief, including H.R. 872, to mitigate burdens placed on our nation's farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.
While this bill is a great first step, the Chairman and Ranking Member acknowledge this is far from over. Ranking Member Peterson commented, "Congress needs to complete work on the 2012 Farm Bill before the current bill expires, otherwise we jeopardize one of the economic bright spots of our nation's fragile economy. This legislation brings us yet another step closer to achieving this goal and I am pleased to have worked with the Chairman on this effort.”