February 11, 2005 -- A diverse group of organizations joined to express their concerns over possible reductions and/or restructuring of the 2002 Farm Bill during the 2006 fiscal year budget process. More than 115 signators, 47 of them agricultural organizations, contacted Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, to urge him not to undermine the many nutrition, conservation, crop insurance and farm programs that are important to all Americans.
All of the American families and industries impacted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s (USDA) programs worked diligently with Congress and with USDA to create programs in the Farm Bill that work for their constituents while operating within the specific budget limits provided. Many of these important programs already have sustained budget reductions in recent years.
The Farm Bill programs play a crucial role in the country?s economy and benefit all Americans. Through the first three years of the 2002 Farm Bill, farm program costs have been more than $15 billion less than the costs initially projected by the Congressional Budget Office when Congress passed the 2002 bill.
A budget that requires further cuts or structural weakening in these important programs will put at-risk the promising environmental benefits of the bill and the nutritional health of some of the poorest populations in our country.
In addition, with prices for many major commodities falling sharply from last year, reductions to farm programs would come at precisely the time when those supports are needed most in rural America.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33