July 2, 2010
The process of putting together a new Farm Bill is now fully underway with the Senate Agriculture Committee joining the process by holding its first hearing. Chairman Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) laid out what she sees guiding her panel as they begin putting together the next U.S. Farm Bill.
In her opening statement for the hearing, Lincoln said there were five keys for the debate ahead.
"First, I am proud of our farmers and ranchers. They work hard. Our nation's farmers and ranchers need to know that they will never have to apologize to this chairman or this committee. We appreciate the work you do every day and we are on your side.
"Second, these Farm Bill deliberations should not be a Washington command-and-control, top-to-bottom approach to policy. It is our farmers and ranchers who know what works on the ground.
"Third, we need to look before we leap. More than anything else, I think most American farm and ranch families simply want steady, predictable, supportive policies coming out of Washington. We need to reassure our farmers and ranchers that we will start where we left off -- the 2008 Farm Bill. If we can do better by our producers in 2012, great. But, if not, current law serves as the benchmark from which we will work.
"Fourth, we need to get more creative. The safety net provided under the 2008 Farm Bill is not perfect. It can and should be strengthened.
"Finally, we should not wait for a crisis to achieve a comprehensive farm policy. I believe that this consideration needs to be our overarching objective as well."
Reprinted in part from Agweb.com