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Delta Council welcomes U.S. House vote

STONEVILLE — The Delta Council is applauding members of Mississippi’s U.S. House delegation that joined a majority in that chamber to reject a series of amendments to the FY12 agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 2112) that the organization says would have “severely compromised farm policy by amending the 2008 farm law two years before it is scheduled to expire.”

An amendment, offered by Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona that was defeated on a voice vote, would have terminated counter-cyclical payments for upland cotton, prohibited repayment of cotton marketing assistance loans at the adjusted world price or issuance of loan deficiency payments for upland cotton, and would have prohibited cotton storage payments.

The House also rejected amendments to change key components of current farm law related to determination of eligibility and limitations on benefits. Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon proposed capping annual payments for direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, loan deficiency payments and marketing loan gains at $125,000/crop year. Rep. Flake proposed amendments that would have denied all farm program benefits if an individual’s adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 and eliminated funding for USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP).

Delta Council president Bowen Flowers said, “As we have said many times before, agriculture should be part of any deficit reduction strategy, but it should be commensurate with the rest of the federal budget.”

Flowers added that changing farm law “mid-stream” is not an effective way to ensure a balanced and consistent rural safety net, especially in a time when higher commodity prices are counter-balanced against a very uncertain economic situation and severe weather issues plaguing rural America.

“We believe that the agricultural policy of this country should be legislated through the committees of jurisdiction, and in the time frame that has been outlined in the Farm Bill,” said Flowers.

Source: Delta Council

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