USDA Proposal Bad for Farmers, Ag Policy Group Says

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy says USDA's farm bill proposal falls short on protections for farmers against natural disasters and policy failures.

USDA's 2007 Farm Bill proposal fails to improve protection for farmers against natural disasters, according to an analysis by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

IATP Senior Policy Analyst Dr. Steve Suppan says that USDA's proposal for revenue-based countercyclical payments will not adequately provide disaster relief or a safety net for farmers.

"Unless there is a natural disaster covering a wide part of the country, the RCCP formula won’t result in payments adequate to compensate farmers for their losses," Suppan says, referring to the proposed revenue-based payment trigger based on the national revenue per acre for a program commodity rather than local targets.

Suppan also disagrees with the National Corn Growers Association's proposal of a revenue insurance program that compensates for the crop years in which losses actually occurred, saying it would violate World Trade Organization rules.

"Congress should not pretend that a permanent natural disaster relief fund is a basis for fair prices or market-based income. The 2007 Farm Bill should restore policy tools to ensure that farmer’s income is derived from fair prices paid by agribusiness and does not depend on taxpayer funds to compensate for low prices," Suppan says.

For more on the analysis, visit www.iatp.org. For more about the USDA report, see www.usda.gov.

TAGS: USDA
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