USA Rice Federation in a letter with 10 other national and regional farm groups, told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack they continue strong support for the 2008 farm bill’s safety net. The letter explained the safety net’s significance to producers and its benefits to the public.

“That benefit is due to the hard work of American farmers and the safety net that provides both stability and a small degree of certainty to farmers in an industry where risk is enormous and can be impossible for a producer to control,” the letter said.

American farmers provide the nation with a stable and abundant supply of food, feed, fiber, and fuel, and are conservation stewards who comply with requirements to protect highly erodible soils and wetlands, the letter said.

Since the farm bill’s passage, commodity prices have dropped significantly. One safety net program, the fixed direct payment, is the only thing “currently helping every farmer with base acres to deal with steep increases in input costs, dramatic commodity market swings, and increasing uncertainty in the credit markets that they rely on to keep their farms running.”

The organizations said they would welcome the opportunity to further discuss the farm safety net issue with Vilsack.