Lincoln, Pryor Fight For Arkansas' Agricultural Producers
U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor (both D-Ark.) recently called for the Senate Budget Committee's support of America's agricultural producers and rural communities as Congress considers a new farm bill this year. The Arkansas Senators also urged the committee to endorse adequate funding for new opportunities, such as an increased commitment to renewable energy development. Lincoln, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee with jurisdiction over the 2007 Farm Bill, and Pryor sent the following letter dated March 9, 2007, to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.): Dear Chairman Conrad and Senator Gregg: The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (the Farm Bill) was enacted in 2002 after more than two years of Congressional debate. The Farm Bill represents Congress's commitment to many important priorities, including providing a strong safety net for America's farmers, ranchers and rural communities, protecting our important natural resources, and enhancing nutrition and food assistance for low income families and children in the United States and around the world.
The policies administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including commodity, rural development, conservation, specialty crop, nutrition, renewable energy, crop insurance, research, export promotion, forestry and other valuable policies are of critical importance to millions of Americans, both on and off the farm, rural and urban, as well as millions of others worldwide. As Congress considers a new farm bill this year, there are both increased needs and new opportunities that must be addressed. We strongly urge the Budget Committee to adopt a budget resolution that provides an adequate level of funding in order to meet both of these important priorities. Without speaking to the adequacy of the request, we believe it is significant that the Administration's Farm Bill proposal acknowledges the need for additional resources to reauthorize this legislation by proposing an increase in funding above the current baseline. Given the reductions the agricultural budget has already sustained over the last several years, we strongly urge you to resist efforts to force further budget reductions. Instead, we request that you consider savings already realized under existing farm policy and provide additional funds for the agricultural budget. This would allow adequate levels of mandatory and discretionary funding to be provided for the reauthorization of the farm bill. Thank you for your consideration as you undertake the difficult task of working to craft a budget resolution.