WASHINGTON, D.C. June 22, 2012 The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation (SPFF) issued the following statement regarding the passage of the Farm Bill, S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act, in the U.S. Senate. The SPFF is comprised of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA), the Florida Peanut Producers Association, the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association and the Georgia Peanut Commission.
"The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation is disappointed that the Senate Farm Bill, S. 3240, does not include policies that provide a safety net for peanut producers. Instead, the legislation increases the role of crop insurance exponentially. Crop insurance should be an option for peanut producers but not the only option. It is unfortunate that the Senate Farm Bill's "one size fits all" structure assures that certain commodities in specific regions will benefit at the detriment of southern commodities. The SPFF supports a farm bill that is fair to all regions and all commodities. We are grateful to those peanut state senators that fought hard to assure peanut producers were treated fairly in the Senate Farm Bill.
The U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman and Ranking Member have made it clear to our peanut leadership that producers should have a choice of programs including a farm safety net option. Peanut producers, from the beginning of the Farm Bill debate, have recognized the needs for reform and budget savings. The elimination of direct payments is a significant contribution to this process. After these budget reforms, the programs put in place should work for all commodities and regions of the U.S. We look forward to working with the U.S. House Agriculture Committee as they develop their Farm Bill package."
Carl Sanders, president of APPA said although all senators from peanut producing states did not defend peanut producers and vote against the bill, he appreciates the support of our state’s congressional leaders. “Both Senator Sessions and Senator Shelby have listened to peanut producers and realize just how hard it is to remain in business. I am grateful for their support and the others who truly put our best interest at heart."
U.S. Senators from peanut producing states voted on the Farm Bill as follows:
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) - NO
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) - NO
Senator David Pryor (D-AR) - NO
Senator John Boozman (R-AR) - NO
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) - YES
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) - NO
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) - NO
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) - NO
Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) - NO
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) - NO
Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) - NO
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) - NO
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) - NO
Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) - YES
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) - NO
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) - YES
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) - YES
Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) - YES
For additional information regarding the Farm Bill visit www.AmericanPeanuts.com.
The 14th Annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference will be held July 19-21, 2012 at the Edgewater Beach Resort, Panama City Beach, Fla.The three-day event provides farmers an opportunity to learn more about the industry and issues affecting them while also enjoying a relaxing time at the beach. This year’s conference general sessions provide farmers with information on how the peanut industry is helping fight world hunger, legislative updates, uncontrollable costs on the farm and peanut research.In addition to the conference sessions the event focuses on the family by offering a ladies program and a golf tournament. Information about the conference, contact the Alabama Peanut Producers Association office at 334-792-6482 or www.southernpeanutfarmers.org
Armond Morris, Chairman of the Georgia Peanut commission, testified recently in the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management hearing on the 2013 Farm Bill: Commodity Programs and Crop Insurance. Morris, who also serves as chairman of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, spoke on behalf of the Commission, the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, the Florida Peanut Producers Association and the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.
Morris began his testimony affirming the need for a bill encompassing all American agricultural commodities. "The debate today in Congress is whether we will have a farm bill that works for one or two regions of the country, and one or two crops, or a national farm bill that works for all regions of the country, and all crops," Morris says.
Nearing the completion of the hearing U.S. Representative Michael Conaway, R-Texas, chairman of the subcommittee, acknowledged the need to protect our nation's farmers. "The clear message from the hearing is that farmers need price protection. If prices collapse, we can't have policy that collapses right along with them creating a crisis in farm country and calls for expensive, unbudgeted bailouts in Washington," Conaway says. "In a few weeks, the House Agriculture Committee will begin crafting a farm bill that is both fair and fiscally responsible to all producers across all regions of the country."
The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation does not support the current Senate Agriculture Committee bill on Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC). The NCPC has done extensive research on the impact of ARC on peanut producers in the U.S. and has found that ARC does not work for peanut growers. U.S. Senators and members of the Senate Agriculture Committee Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and John Boozman, R-Ark., voted against the Senate Bill in Committee. The Federation is working with these senators and other members of the Senate to try and get the 2013 Farm Bill to a place where it works for Southern peanut growers.
No floor time has been set aside in the Senate for the farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee is expected to mark-up their bill in June.
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version of the 2012 Farm Bill on APril 26th, with a total of 16 supporting votes and five negative votes. The markup of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 took less than five hours, “when historically it would take days,” said Ranking Member Pat Roberts, R-Kans.
The bill will next go to the Senate for full consideration. Roberts and Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., focused on the bipartisan support and efforts of committee members and staff to reform the Farm Bill when they spoke to members of the press after the markup.
“This is the best Farm Bill I have seen to date,” Roberts said. “This is truly a reform bill. The number of programs we consolidated and streamlined is rather incredible.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected the Senate Farm Bill would save $24.7 billion over the next 10 years over the 2008 Farm Bill levels, although that number likely changed during today’s markup through the amendment process.
The bill, which eliminates direct payments and emphasizes risk management tools and crop insurance and will reduce the deficit by at least $23 billion, failed to gain support from some southern representatives on the committee today. Senators Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; and John Boozman, R-Ark., vowed to bring up amendments when the Farm Bill hits the Senate floor to further protect cotton, rice and peanuts that do not benefit from crop insurance.
“As we move toward a mark on the floor, I hope the issues of rice and peanuts will be given greater consideration,” Chambliss said during the markup. “If enacted under the current proposal, both peanuts and rice are going to take a huge hit.”
Stabenow assured them considerations for southern crops are already in the bill, including the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) for cotton, but that "this is not all fully developed."
“It’s not about one region over another, but it is complicated,” she said. “We do have STAX for cotton, a new ag risk coverage program, special prices for rice and peanuts and new crop insurance options. I know this is not all fully developed. We realize we’re not there yet.”
For more information go to: http://www.agri-pulse.com/Senate-Ag-Committee-passes-bipartisan-Farm-Bill-regional-differences-04262012.asp
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, numerous legislators and other government officials had a chance to sample Alabama foods and visit with farmers and small business owners during the Family Farm and Family Business Day on the Hill Wednesday at the State Capitol in Montgomery.
The event, organized by a coalition of agricultural and business groups, emphasized the important role farms and businesses play in Alabama by producing healthy food, creating jobs and boosting the economy.
"With 2012 declared the Year of Food in Alabama by the Department of Tourism, it seemed fitting to allow legislators and other leaders the opportunity to meet with those who raise and produce food locally," said Brian Hardin, assistant director of Governmental and Agricultural Programs for the Alabama Farmers Federation. "With this event, members of the Alabama Farmers Federation get to showcase their hard work while sharing their issues and concerns with legislators."
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., welcomed the crowd and asked farmers to keep her informed about important issues affecting business. Roby reminded farmers that she and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., both serve on the House Agriculture Committee and are true advocates for agriculture.
"We are so proud of our farmers," Bentley said. "Farmers are special people. You live by faith because you never know what the prices are going to be. Prices of gasoline, prices of commodities, prices of fertilizer."
Attendees sampled food from Alabama companies including the Alabama Peanut Producers Association who provided boiled peanuts for the event, Dean Sausage Co., Golden Flake Snack Foods, Crazy Wanda's and The Seafood Association from Bayou La Batre. Dessert was provided by Blue Bell Creameries and Mayfield Ice Cream with Milo's Sweet Tea and Barber's lemonade available to wash it all down.
Sponsors for the event included the Alabama Farmers Federation, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Alabama Catfish Producers, Alabama Agribusiness Council, Alabama Cattleman's Association, "Buy Alabama's Best" Campaign and Alabama Poultry & Egg Association.
Pictured is Governor Bentley thanking farmers for continued efforts in producing such quality foods in Alabama.