The Secretary of Agriculture, House Committee on Agriculture, and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry each appoint three members who will serve with the USDA’s chief economist on the ten-member commission.

As part of the 2002 farm bill, the commission is directed to conduct a study on the potential impacts of further payment limitations on the receipt of direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, and marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments on farm income, land values, rural communities, agribusiness infrastructure, planting decisions of producers affected, and the supply and prices of covered commodities, loan commodities, specialty crops, and other agricultural commodities.

“The Committee thought it was necessary that those who were appointed be able to represent different agricultural areas of the country and various aspects of the agricultural industry,” said Rep. Larry Combest, R-Texas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

“It was also important that each member have considerable knowledge of farm programs; and fully understand how government payments affect farm income, rural communities, land values, and agribusiness.”

“The Commission has an important duty and will generate valuable information that will shape the future of agricultural policy,” said Rep. Charlie Stenholm, D-Texas, the ranking member on the Agriculture Committee. “We are confident each person will approach this opportunity responsibly, professionally and fairly.”

Combest said Black, the president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Inc, and the founder of a specialty food marketing company in Macon, Ga., will offer the Commission a perspective from the agriculture business world and the impact limitations would have not only on producers, but the communities in which they live, and other agriculture-related industries.

Black has served with the Agribusiness Council, Inc., a statewide trade association of the food and fiber industry, since 1989. From 1980 to 1988, he was the assistant director of field services and young farmer coordinator for the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation.

Dyer is president and chief executive officer of Farm Credit Services Southwest, which operates under the Farm Credit Administration (FCA). In 2001, the Southwest area had over $550 million in loan volume. From 1986-89, he was vice president for credit for the Farm Credit Bank of St. Louis. In addition, he served as state executive director of ASCS in California from 1981-83.

Newman, a farmer from Anson, Texas, has the knowledge of farm programs and the complexity of specific payment limitation rules from his experience as a farmer and from a career of service in the USDA.

Newman began his career with the Farm Service Agency in 1963 and was deputy administrator of farm programs from 1995 to1998. Since 2000, Mr. Newman has served as chief administrative officer for the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com