Letter to Sens. Gregg, Chambliss Regarding 2006 Budget Reconciliation

The NCC joined other agricultural groups on a letter to Sens. Gregg, Chambliss regarding the 2006 Budget Reconciliation and strongly encourage rejection of any amendments which would substantially alter the fundamental policies and delicate balance and allocation of financial resources embodied in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.

Published: November 1, 2005
Updated: November 1, 2005

October 31, 2005

The Honorable Judd Gregg, Chairman
Committee on the Budget
United States Senate
Washington, DC  20510 

The Honorable Saxby Chambliss, Chairman
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry
United States Senate
Washington, DC  20510

Dear Chairman Gregg and Chambliss:

As the Senate considers the FY06 budget reconciliation measure, the organizations listed below respectfully and strongly encourage you to reject any amendments which would substantially alter the fundamental policies and delicate balance and allocation of financial resources embodied in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (FSRIA '02) signed on May 13, 2002.

We continue to be concerned that any change in the fundamental policies underlying the production agriculture, conservation, risk management, nutrition, and export promotion programs in FSRIA '02 will undermine the effectiveness of the law, which has served U.S. agriculture and related industries well.  So well in fact, that none of our organizations have supported or called for major modifications in FSRIA's basic provisions since its enactment in 2002.

From 2000 through 2002 our organizations worked diligently with Congress and the Administration to urge development of a new, more effective farm policy, which complied with budget and international trade obligations.  Congress responded by passing a farm bill that addresses the stability of our production base, protects our important natural resources, and enhances nutrition and food assistance programs for our citizens.  The 2002 farm law was thoroughly debated for over 2 years, and addresses many of the major problems faced by America's farmers and ranchers, rural businesses, rural communities and our neediest citizens.

Earlier this year, our organizations urged your Committee not to include specific reconciliation instructions in the final budget resolution which would require specific policy changes in the new farm law.  We are appreciative that your committee and the Committee on Agriculture,

Nutrition and Forestry have heeded our urgings in this regard.  We strongly oppose any major policy changes to the programs and priorities embodied in the 2002 Farm Bill and ask you and your colleagues to do likewise.

For example, we understand that during the floor consideration of the budget reconciliation measure, amendments may be offered to make substantial changes in the farm bill's policies governing the limits on farm program payments.  These limits were carefully crafted after significant debate during congressional consideration of FSRIA.  The best forum for making decisions about such major changes to such policies is during the consideration of the 2007 farm bill - not in the budget reconciliation process.  Even the Administration's Payment Limits Commission reached the conclusion that payment limit changes should be made within the context of the Farm Bill reauthorization, and even then phased in over time.  Our farmers and ranchers need a predictable, stable farm policy in order to continue to make responsible planting and marketing decisions.  That is one of many reasons why we ask you to join us in opposing amendments such as this that would disrupt the careful policy balance struck in the 2002 Farm Bill.

We look forward to working with you and your colleagues in support of a FY06 budget reconciliation measure which will complement and enhance the effectiveness of our existing farm law.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

Georgia Peanut Commission

Florida Peanut Producers Association

Southern Peanut Farmers Federation

U.S. Rice Producers Association

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Soybean Association

American Sheep Industry Association

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

Association of Equipment Manufacturers

American Beekeeping Federation

Western Peanut Growers

USA Rice Federation

National Cotton Council

National Corn Growers Association

Independent Community Bankers Association

National Association of Wheat Growers

National Sorghum Producers


cc:    The Honorable Kent Conrad, Ranking Member
Committee on Budget

       The Honorable Tom Harkin, Ranking Member
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry