What is in this article?:
- Educating Congress on agriculture: crafting a new farm bill
- Key friends of agriculture lost
- Agriculture cuts of 23 percent
- Majority of ag funding is for nutrition
U.S. agriculture — and particularly southern agriculture — faces perhaps the most daunting challenge in decades to get its message before Congress and the administration, says Chip Morgan, executive vice president of the Delta Council at Stoneville, Miss.
Majority of ag funding is for nutrition
Almost 75 percent of the money for agriculture goes to nutrition programs, Morgan notes, while only 10 percent is for commodity programs and the remainder for research, food safety and other discretionary spending.
“Another problem we face in getting across agriculture’s message is that we do not know the ‘go-to guy’ for agriculture in the White House. In previous administrations, there was always someone on the White House staff who knew agriculture that we could work with. In the current administration, we haven’t been able to find that go-to person for agriculture. That’s distressing, because the White House will make the first shot across the bow when it comes to writing the 2012 farm bill.
“One thing we learned from the 1996 legislation is that while regulatory reform, tax, and trade policy are important, they are not an adequate substitute for effective farm policy. The high prices we’re seeing now for commodities won’t always be there. It’s hard to think about going back to the days of $5 soybeans and 50-cent cotton — but neither would anyone have believed that we would see $13 beans and $2 cotton.”
Morgan said Mississippi’s grower-supported rice research and promotion is “money well-spent — your funds help make things happen for the benefit of everyone who grows rice.”
He noted that legislation has passed both the Mississippi House and Senate to renew the state’s Rice Research and Promotion Act and to eliminate the repealer provision in the act. “There was no opposition, and we’re waiting now to see if it has to go to conference.”
He said the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation “has done a great job of promoting the state’s agriculture; its Mississippi Farm Families media campaign is outstanding, and the Mississippi Rice Council is to be commended for helping to support this effort.”