INTRODUCING THE RICE FARMERS FAIRNESS ACT -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 06, 2005)
HON. RON PAUL
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2005
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I am today introducing the Rice Farmers Fairness Act. This legislation conditions the continuation of farm subsidies in the state of Texas upon the maintenance of rice production. Federal law allows for the continuation of subsidies to landowners who discontinue tenant rice farming on their land. In essence, this means that the subsidy continues to flow in spite of an end to production.
This is a ``something for nothing'' subsidy of the worst kind! As a result of this provision, there is a very real threat to the agricultural infrastructure. With landowners receiving subsidies in spite of lack of production, the entire warehousing, processing and ``value-added'' industries are put at risk.
As grain elevators, processors and others see a reduction in demand for their services because of the diminution of production permitted by Federal law, they have a disincentive to continue to provide said services, services which must remain in place in order for those who remain in production to be able to bring to market the rice which they continue to produce. Thus, by way of the decimation of the infrastructure, this subsidy to non-producers comes at the expense of those who continue to produce rice. Therefore, the provisions of Federal law which provide this subsidy actually amount to another form of Federal welfare, taking from producers and giving to non-producers. These destructive government policies have particularly pernicious effect in Texas, where rice farming, and the related industries, are a major sector of the economy in many towns along the Texas coast.
My legislation is very simple and direct in dealing with this problem. It says that those who have tenant rice farmers producing rice in Texas must agree to continue to maintain rice in their crop rotation if they wish to receive subsidies. In this way, we can remove the perverse incentive, which the Federal Government has provided to landowners to exit the rice business and thereby put the entire rice infrastructure at risk.
America's rice farmers are the most efficient, effective producers of rice in the world, despite the many hurdles erected by Washington. The Rice Farmer Fairness Act helps removes one of these hurdles and this makes America's rice farmers even more efficient. In order to enhance our competitive position, we should also end our embargoes of other nations. Congress should eliminate the burdensome taxes and regulations imposed on America's farmers. I hope my colleagues will join me in removing these federally imposed burdens on rice farmers by supporting free trade, low taxes and regulations, and cosponsoring my Rice Farmer Fairness Act.