President Obama proposes elimination of Direct Payment, NCGA President responds

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The White House is asking agriculture to tighten its belt as part of President Obama’s overall federal budget deficit reduction plan. Obama’s proposed deficit reduction plan calls for $33 billion in agricultural cuts in the next ten years, making significant changes to current farm policy before Congress has a opportunity to write the new farm bill.

The administration is proposing the elimination of direct payments, along with cuts in stewardship programs and reforms in the federal crop insurance program.

Reactions coming from all sides have quickly come in after the proposal was unveiled by the White House yesterday. Republicans have criticized the proposed $8 billion in cuts to the crop insurance program and the President’s proposal to extend the farm bill’s SURE program. The SURE program is set to end this month.

White House Rural Advisor for the President’s Domestic Policy Council Doug McKalip posted in his blog what he believes is the importance of this proposal.

“I believe the President’s proposal seeks to establish new policy that has been long overdue, and takes action that conventional thinking would regard as either too difficult, or too controversial.

“As the proposal goes forward, it is important to consider many characteristics of direct farm that demonstrate the need for a new approach. The President’s plan will make a massive, but necessary change in the framework through which we work on agriculture and farm programs.  As we have heard so often, most recently on the President’s Midwest Rural Tour, there are many young Americans who want to get into farming, or want to work and raise families in rural places.   The President’s proposal will reshape the discussion on farm policy, and help focus attention and resources on how to support rural areas and better build capacity of those areas for future economic growth and development. That is the kind of approach to rural areas that will truly benefit everyone and provide contributions back to the economy and the nation.”

For his full blog post, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/09/19/someday-now-direct-farm-payments-and-president-s-plan-economic-growth-and-deficit-re

In response to the President Obama’s Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction Plan, National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott released a statement. His response:

“NCGA strongly supports the effort to get our federal budget under control and the need for shared sacrifice in order to achieve an equitable, balanced approach. We appreciate the recognition in President Obama’s plan of how important reliable effective risk management tools are to farmers and rural communities. While NCGA agrees the fiscal challenges before us require even greater efficiency in the delivery of farm safety net programs, we are deeply concerned by proposals that would directly undermine a farmer’s ability to purchase adequate insurance coverage at a time of heightened volatility in commodity markets.

“In addition, NCGA recently unveiled the Agriculture Disaster Assistance Program (ADAP), a plan that transfers a significant portion of direct payments for deficit reduction, with the remaining funds put toward an improved risk management program that better complements federal crop insurance.

“As the Administration and members of Congress begin to prepare for the next farm bill, we also ask that decisions and writing of the legislation be made within the committees of jurisdiction.”

Sources: White House Office of Communication, NCGA

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