Statement of NCFC President Chuck Conner on Senate Markup of 2012 Farm Bill

Washington, D.C. (April 26, 2012)—“Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts are to be commended for taking the lead on reauthorization of the farm bill by holding a markup today. In my experience, even though every farm bill takes its own unique path to final enactment one fact of the process remains the same—it has to start somewhere, and the Senate Committee has taken that difficult first step.

“From a policy perspective, as the Committee gets to work, members must ensure that any legislation contains a meaningful and equitable safety net for producers across commodity and across regions of the country.

“A key element of this for NCFC and our dairy co-op members is the package of dairy reforms contained in the draft legislation that is supported by dairy producers of all sizes and in all regions of the country. NCFC strenuously opposes any amendment, including the one offered by Senator Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) that would weaken the dairy provisions and which, if accepted, would cost dairy farmers more than $400 million in additional expenses.

“Further, NCFC is disappointed that regulatory relief language was not included in the draft legislation that would free producers, co-ops and other agribusinesses from the duplicative, costly and misguided pesticide permitting requirements.

“Finally, we are heartened to see funding of important export development programs such as the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development program held at current farm bill levels. MAP and FMD are highly successful, cost-effective public-private partnerships with a far-reaching economic impact, and funding them will help to ensure the continued competitiveness of U.S. agricultural exports in the face of heavily subsidized foreign competition.”

About NCFC

Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives.  Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 3,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country.  NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives.  Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.

America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members.  These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity.  They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs.  Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.

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