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RMFU rejects House farm bill offer

DENVER – Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) today rejected the U.S. House conferees’ farm bill proposal and encouraged the Senate to make a counter-offer.

“The House of Representatives’ modest compromise does not adequately address the desperate economic situation in the Rocky Mountain region,” said RMFU president John Stencel. “We urge the Senate to counter the House offer with a proposal that will provide more certainty for America’s farmers and ranchers.”

Farmers Union has asked Senate conferees to come back with a farm bill proposal that includes:
• higher and more equitable marketing loan rates that are based on current crop yields;
• an improved safety net for all dairy producers;
• mandatory country-of-origin labeling for meats, fruits, vegetables, catfish and peanuts;
• a ban on meatpackers owning livestock more than 14 days before slaughter; and
• production loss support for weather-related crop and livestock losses in 2001.

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union also supports payment limitations that target assistance to family-sized operations, as provided in the Senate-passed farm bill proposal. This morning, the House voted to instruct the conferees to accept the Senate payment limits, but the House conferees’ plan does not include the Senate limits.

“Farmers Union commends the House and Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee for moving forward in the farm bill process and insists that additional progress be made,” Stencel said. “We especially appreciate Senators Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) for holding to the provisions that are important to our agricultural producers and rural communities.”