Ron Hays of the Radio Oklahoma Network reports on candid comments by Mark Lange, President and CEO of the National Cotton Council of America, on the hurdles in the way of crafting a new farm bill. An excerpt:
“The commodity groups themselves have made it a little difficult on Congress because the commodity groups aren’t giving the Congress a unified voice.
“And I don’t mind telling you, because I speak for cotton – that’s my job – that some grains and oil seeds are trying to take your money. And not just our money, but they’re trying to take the money that’s in the baseline for rice and peanuts and cotton in order to enrich their revenue programs.
“If they think we’re just going to roll over and say ‘Oh, yeah, that’s just fair,’ I don’t think so. So Congress comes to us and says you really need to give us better direction, but I’m sorry, as long as the grains and oil seeds are going to try to steal several hundreds of millions of dollars annually in support from rice, peanuts and cotton to enrich their programs, we’re not going to speak with a single voice. It’s not going to happen.”
It appears that the biggest obstacles to writing the commodity title of the farm bill are the snouts of the various farm group lobbyists crowding at the shrinking government trough. Cotton is one of the five favored commodity crops subsidized under the federal farm bill, which has paid out over $250 billion in subsidies since 1995.
However, what Mr. Lange calls “our money” really is the money of all Americans who pay taxes. To date, taxpayers have subsidized Mr. Lange’s farmers to the tune of $32 billion, and when asked, they overwhelmingly want a drastically different farm bill than the status quo legislation Mr. Lange is huffing over.
- The Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette reports: “As long as Iowa farmers lead the nation in corn production, they will be among the leading contributors of nitrogen fertilizer to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.”
- Salon’s David Sirota writes: “From factory farms to home foreclosures, state governments are helping hide corporate wrongdoing.”
- DTN’s Todd Neeley covers a National Wildlife Federation report that calls for the federal government to make biomass feedstock producers liable for damages caused by invasions of feedstock varieties they develop, and for the costs of remediation.
- New York Congressman Bill Owens doesn’t think a farm bill will happen in 2012.
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