American Farmland Trust
Farm Policy Media Summary October 11, 2006

Along with the fall weather, a new mood about the future of U.S. farm policy swept into Washington, D.C. Calls for straight extension of the existing farm bill fell apart as each farm group wanted something different. In addition, there’s a new momentum in town—with a broader public calling for reform and for a fresh way of doing business.

Another Major Newspaper Takes on U.S. Farm Policy Inequities

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is publishing a four-part series on inequities in current U.S. farm policy, specifically with regard to the cotton sector. “Farmers from Georgia to California planted millions of acres of cotton last spring knowing their crop will probably sell at a loss this fall. But they planted anyway, confident that American taxpayers would bail them out with billions of dollars in subsidies. Just as they did last year, and the years before that,” starts the series.

The Intersection of Farm Policy and Conservation

AFT’s Ralph Grossi was interviewed on the intersection of farm policy and conservation and his hopes for farm bill reform by, one of the largest websites for planning and developers. See the article titled “Rethinking Farm Policy: Subsidies, Sprawl and Globalization.”

Eight Items: Sen. Conrad Burns’ (R-MT) Goals for the 2007 Farm Bill

The only Congressman to serve as a farm radio broadcaster before running for office in 1988, Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) knows agriculture first-hand. He penned an op-ed for The Prairie Star outlining eight key issues that must be addressed in the farm bill debate. Among them, he says, “The next farm bill must re-evaluate the structure of commodity programs, to ensure that all program crops benefit.”

It’s Time to “EAT for a Healthy America” Says the Specialty Crops Industry

AFT agrees with the specialty crops industry that it’s time for new legislation to insure an abundant and affordable supply of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and other specialty crops for the world’s consumers and to enhance the competitiveness of this agricultural sector through expanded research and pest mitigation programs. That’s why AFT endorsed the
Equitable Agriculture Today (EAT) for a Healthy America Act, introduced in Congress by over 50 bi-partisan co-sponsors led by Representatives Pombo (R-CA), Putnam (R-FL), Cardoza (D-CA) and Salazar (D-CO). Southwest Farm Press told the story.

Second Group Launches Platform of Suggestions for 2007 Farm Bill

For the first time in its history, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs has issued a report on agricultural policy. In the report, Modernizing America’s Farm and Food Policy: Vision for a New Direction [PDF], the council called on Congress to pass new policies that end trade-distorting subsidies, redefine the farm safety net, transform the food stamp program, and reinvest in U.S. agriculture’s future. Christopher Whitney, executive director for studies, told the Chicago Tribune, “It’s our belief America needs to understand the significance of agriculture to this country and the world…There is a real need to rethink the policies we have in place.” The report echoes many of the farm bill recommendations of AFT’s Agenda 2007, released in May.

Ted Turner Says Don’t Give Up on Doha and Speaks of a Future Without Subsidies

Media mogul Ted Turner spoke to the WTO in his capacity as head of the United Nations Foundation. He encouraged negotiators to use biofuels as a means to revive the stalled WTO Doha Round negotiations, arguing that increased demand for green energy could mean, “Farmers’ income will be assured not by subsidies and tariffs, but by market forces. The Doha Round is stalled because rich countries and poor countries are split on the question of agriculture subsidies. If agriculture were always going to be the same, then the question of subsidies would be a problem without a solution. But agriculture is changing,” says Turner in the Export Yellow Pages.

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