Rep. Kind Touts Farm Bill Reform Ideas on Int'l Agriculture, Trade and Aid Trip
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) touted his Healthy Farms Bill (HR 6064) as a win-win-win for the U.S., our trading partners, and international efforts to provide food assistance to developing countries during a recent bipartisan congressional delegation (CODEL) to Rome and Geneva focusing on agriculture, trade, and food aid.
"As we prepare to reauthorize the 2007 Farm Bill, the time is right for Congress to make the necessary reforms to help shape and sustain a global agricultural economy driven by clean renewable energy, technological innovation, and fair and equitable trade policies," stated Rep. Ron Kind. "The reforms I am proposing in my Healthy Farms Bill would set us on a new path to do just that."
The Healthy Farms Bill, which Kind plans to introduce again in the next Congress, proposes modernizing government farm programs to serve more farmers though expanded conservation payments and green incentives to encourage the growth of more energy-producing crops. Focusing government programs on conservation and farm-based renewable energy will help bring U.S. agriculture policy more in line with international trade law and allow for progress in the World Trade Organization's (WTO) agricultural trade negotiations.
"One of the biggest roadblocks to both agricultural competitiveness and sustainable development around the world is the lack of equitable agricultural access in the global market place," stated Rep. Kind. "If we want our agriculture policies to work for producers and consumers worldwide, we must create fair trade policies that level the playing field and expand economic opportunities for everyone."
U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Peter Allgeier issued a statement emphasizing the value of the discussions in promoting understanding among lawmakers, diplomats, trade representatives, and all those committed to increasing economic prosperity around the world through trade and aid. "I very much welcomed this congressional visit. I think it is particularly useful for Members of Congress to get a first-hand impression of the negotiating dynamics here and for them, in turn, to provide our negotiating partners with a first-hand view of Congressional perspectives."
The four day trip included CODEL meetings with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, top officials at the Vatican City heading the Catholic Church's humanitarian and food aid programs, and numerous international trade representatives, diplomats and experts on trade and sustainable development. A full CODEL report is forthcoming.