Obama Administration out of Touch with Agriculture

Feb 27, 2009

Washington, DC – Ranking Member Frank Lucas opposes President Obama’s budget proposal that calls for eliminating direct payments to farmers with more than $500,000 in annual sales.  The President’s $3.5 trillion budget plan also calls for the elimination of cotton storage payments, a reduction in subsidies for crop insurance, and a funding cut for the Market Access Program that promotes U.S. goods overseas.  This proposal comes just months after Congress passed the 2008 Farm Bill, which has not been fully implemented.

“This proposal attacks family-run farms all across rural America.  The people who provide us with the safest, most abundant food supply in the world are being asked to shoulder the burden of our economic crisis. 

“We made a commitment to our producers when we passed the 2008 farm bill.  Now, during an economic crisis, now when our producers are trying to make planning decisions, now when they’re trying to address higher input costs, we’re going to renege on our promise to them. 

“Direct payments allow farmers to show bankers and Farm Credit that they have the income to repay their loans. And, direct payments provide producers with the flexibility to respond to market signals when choosing crops. 

“At a time when the USDA recently reported that U.S. net farm income is down 20% from last year, I find it hard to believe that this is the time the administration has chosen to take $10 billion out of the only stable form of support our producers can count on in a difficult economy.  This proposal is ill-timed, ill-conceived, and completely out of touch with the realities of production agriculture,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas.

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