Chambliss leads effort to protect Southern farmers

Released: April 27, 2012

TIFTON, Ga.– U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) highlighted the importance of 2012 Farm Bill legislation reflecting agricultural interests in all regions of the U.S. Senator Chambliss, a former Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, worked with Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and John Boozman (R-AR) in an effort to assure peanut, cotton and rice farmers interests were represented in the farm bill debate.

The bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee by a vote of 16 to 5.  Senators Chambliss, Cochran, Boozman, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) opposed the legislation. Senator Chambliss noted in his opening statement,  “As the international agriculture markets become more complex worldwide, we must be mindful that a one size fits all program will not work for U.S. agriculture with regions more diverse than ever before. We need to recognize this diversity by providing producers with different options to confront the marketing and regional differences that define our country. Washington does not always know best. Right now, the bill before us fails this test.  It is neither equitable nor fair and attempts to redistribute resources from one region to another. After deducting a share for deficit reduction, certain commodities receive more resources than others and crops such as peanuts and rice are left without a safety net. We have read reports and analyses illustrating the lopsidedness of the bill.  Among the biggest losers in the budget baseline are wheat, barley, grain sorghum, rice, cotton, and peanuts. We should not convince ourselves that this will not cause enormous negative consequences for many regions of the country. Put simply, by making the bill more conducive for certain crops at the expense of the many, this bill lacks balance.” 
             
Georgia Peanut Commission Chairman Armond Morris stated, “We appreciate Senator Chambliss fighting for peanut growers in Georgia. The peanut industry has a tremendous impact on jobs and rural communities in the Southeast. Senator Chambliss has been the voice of southern agriculture recognizing how important Ag is for the economies of our state and nation.”
             
The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation (SPFF), Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama peanut producers, joined other southern farm organizations saluting southern senators on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Along with the SPFF, the US Rice Producers Association, the USA Rice Federation, and the Western Peanut Growers issued the following statement concerning consideration of the 2012 Farm Bill by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee.

 "We thank Senator Chambliss, Senator Cochran, and Senator Boozman for their steadfast support of equitable treatment of all cotton, rice, and peanut farmers in the Farm Bill. While we are disappointed in the senate package due to its lack of equitable treatment of many of the producers we represent, we appreciate the efforts of these Senators in so faithfully giving voice to so many farmers locked out of an effective safety net under the bill. We do appreciate the efforts of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee to make some accommodation for our producers and we remain hopeful that, as the process moves forward, cotton, rice, and peanut farmers in all these growing regions might be allowed to participate as equals alongside other commodities in having access to risk management tools provided by the Farm Bill."

The Senate bill has not been scheduled for debate on the floor of the U.S. Senate. For additional information in regards to the Farm Bill please visit, www.gapeanuts.com.

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Joy Carter Crosby
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