This week, American Farmland Trust launched "Agenda 2007: A New Framework and Direction for U.S. Farm Policy" to put forth plausible alternatives for the next farm bill and raise the level of discussion and debate about U.S. farm policy. We’d like to share samples of the broad press coverage that resulted from this event. You can view the archived Web cast of the press conference and download copies of the report at http://www.farmland.org/.
Calls for Farm Policy Change Get Broad Support
Coverage started with a May 8th Wall St. Journal article titled “Calls for Farm-Policy Change Get Broad Support,” which noted the endorsement of former Secretaries of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter and Dan Glickman. “The later we wait to make adjustments in farm policy, the more abrupt and disruptive it will be," said Ralph Grossi, president of American Farmland Trust, in the article.
Senator Grassley Comments on AFT’s Agenda 2007
In his weekly call to Iowa broadcasters, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) fielded a call about AFT’s Agenda 2007 and said “we’ll be looking for alternatives [like Agenda 2007] if the Doha Round is a success.” Grassley added that he feels there is a possibility for greater conservation spending (by shifting monies from existing programs) in the next farm bill. Listen to his comments [MP3, 21 minutes].
Sec. Clayton Yeutter, Farmer John Hardin and AFT’s Ralph Grossi on Agri-Talk
Immediately following AFT’s press conference, the conference speakers were guests on national farm radio show AgriTalk. They outlined the key proposals in Agenda 2007 and the process used to gather farmer input in developing the recommendations. John Hardin, former head of the National Pork Producers Council, said “this is a matter of confronting the new realities…and helping farmers to be competitive in the world market.” Listen to their remarks [see May 8, 2006 broadcast at 23:02].
AFT’s Agenda 2007 Should Have Bipartisan Support
Who better to comment on the possible Congressional support for AFT’s Agenda 2007 than former cabinet members Clayton Yeutter and Dan Glickman? This Agriculture Online article details Yeutter’s response: “The AFT proposal should have bipartisan support.” He added that “delaying a new farm bill until after the current round of World Trade Organization talks end “would be a very major tactical error on the part of the United States.”
News Heard 'Round the World
The next farm bill is of interest to readers around the world, especially as it relates to the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations. The Australian-The World noted that a “powerful coalition” has launched an effort to overhaul U.S. farm subsidies and that the future of the farm bill is being closely watched in Canberra. Reuters UK quoted Ralph Grossi, who said that Agenda 2007 would “satisfy world trade rules.”
Not All in Agreement, But AFT Ideas Stimulate Debate
When the Omaha-World Herald covered the AFT press conference, they spoke to local farmer John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, who expressed his concern that AFT’s Agenda 2007 wouldn’t raise the prices that farmers receive for their goods in the marketplace. The Capital Times writer Margaret Krome took issue with the details of two recommendations but said, “The key point is that new ideas about farm policy are welcome and reflect a healthy recognition that [farm policy] affects us all."