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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2007

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENÐCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Georgia for yielding me this time.

I rise in opposition to the amendment.

While I appreciate the intent of the amendment and the questions that have led to it, the appropriations measure as reported contains language on animal identification that should be sufficient to address its concerns. Since becoming chairman of the Agricultural Committee, we have conducted five hearings on the national identification, national animal identification system.

It is clear that animal ID has the potential to significantly improve our animal health monitoring system and enhance our ability to respond to an animal health emergency. Unfortunately, many of the livestock producers I talk with about the USDA's animal ID system, still have questions about cost, liability, regulatory burden, confidentiality and barriers to commerce that have yet to be addressed.

It is reasonable to expect that an individual producer could look at a USDA document and determine what he would be required to do under either the voluntary program or the mandatory program that will follow on later.

Today, it is simply not possible. The Appropriations Committee has included language in their bill that holds funding until the Secretary of Agriculture publishes an advance notice of proposed rulemaking outlining how USDA's animal ID system will work. This informal process will provide the details necessary to have a full and thoughtful debate about animal ID and allow us to find our way forward with this important public policy initiative.

For those who worry an ANPR might slow down an animal ID implementation, I offer this observation, if USDA is not prepared to quickly answer these fundamental questions about its plans, then USDA is in no position to be moving forward in any case.

Mr. Paul's amendment has the best of intentions. However, the underlying bill has provided the mechanism to work through the issues he seeks to address. For this reason, I believe his amendment should be defeated.

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment offered by Mr. Chabot to limit funding to the Market Access Program. This very important program helps boost U.S. agricultural exports.

U.S. agricultural exports are expected to be $64.5 billion in 2006, resulting in a trade surplus of more than $1 billion. Just a year ago, this trade surplus was significantly higher, but with increased subsidized foreign competition, all U.S. economic sectors have seen a steady increase in trade deficits.

Agriculture is still one of the few sectors of the American economy to enjoy a trade surplus, and it is programs such as MAP that enable this. Exports also provide needed jobs throughout the U.S. economy and generate economic activity in the nonfarm economy.

Nearly every State exports agricultural commodities. Agricultural exports in 2001 generated an estimated 912,000 full-time civilian jobs, including 461,000 jobs in the nonfarm sector. MAP helps the U.S. meet heavily subsidized foreign competition.

Mr. Chairman, the European Union spent more than $3.25 billion in 2003 on agricultural export subsidies, compared to about $30 million by the U.S. The EU and other foreign competitors are moving aggressively in providing other forms of assistance to maintain and expand their share of the world market at the expense of U.S. farmers and ranchers.

In recent years, they have devoted approximately $1.2 billion for market development and related activities. Without U.S. policies and programs to counter such subsidized competition, American farmers and ranchers will be at a substantial disadvantage.

MAP is specifically targeted to help small businesses, farmer cooperatives and trade associations to meet this subsidized foreign competition. It is not a subsidy to big business as some would want you to believe; in fact, it represents a successful public-private partnership.

MAP is administered on a cost-share basis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with farmers, ranchers and other participants required to contribute up to 50 percent toward the program. In fact, since 1992, for every dollar contributed by Federal funding, MAP participants have increased their contributions from 30 percent to 166 percent.

According to the USDA, every Federal dollar invested has resulted in $16 in additional U.S. agricultural exports.

Mr. Chairman, in closing, I urge my colleagues to vote against this misguided amendment. MAP helps U.S. agricultural exports meet foreign competition, improves U.S. trade, strengthens farm income and protects American jobs.

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the Blumenauer amendment which calls for reductions of the loan rates established in the 2002 farm bill for both refined beet sugar and raw cane sugar.

Mr. Chairman, farmers have crafted their business plans based on the assurances of the 2002 farm bill. Farmers have invested time and money in that crop often with capital borrowed from the bank. It is unfair now to reduce the returns that farmers counted on when planning, financing, and planting that crop.

This debate concerning the sugar program is an important one. However, it is a debate that my committee will conduct at the appropriate time during the authorization of the new farm bill. As chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, I have already held farm bill field hearings this year and will be holding additional farm bill hearings this summer and fall.

During this process, and not when we are on the floor debating an appropriations bill, is the correct time for discussing and making possible changes to U.S. sugar policy.

Mr. Chairman, in my capacity as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, it is my responsibility to look at all of agriculture and consider what is best for the United States and our farmers and ranchers. The policy that was put in place by the 2002 farm bill must remain intact. I stand by this commitment to farmers and ranchers and urge a ``no'' vote on the Blumenauer-Flake amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I will go ahead and close.

This has been a very interesting debate. It is just the wrong place for this debate. This is important agricultural policy that should not be determined based upon a 20-minute debate in the middle of an appropriation bill that funds agricultural programs. This is a debate that needs to wait until the 2007 farm bill.

I hear the arguments. I am very much interested in good policy for agriculture, including addressing some of the concerns that have been raised about the sugar policy. This isn't the place to do it.

So I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment, and I look forward to addressing this in the writing of a new farm bill.

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