CHAMBLISS DISCUSSES BIPARTISAN PLAN DURING EVENT TO RALLY ENERGY INDEPENDENCE
U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today joined leaders of the National Farmers Union, U.S. Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and others to promote ways Congress can help alleviate soaring energy costs for American farmers. Last month, Sens. Chambliss and Conrad formed a bipartisan group of Senators to launch the New Energy Reform Act of 2008, or New ERA, a comprehensive energy proposal to reduce gas prices, lessen our nation's dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen America's economy.
"Although the prices of many commodities are favorable, our farmers and ranchers are faced with ever increasing production costs," said Sen. Chambliss. "High production costs have not been isolated to one commodity or region of the country and have forced all of our farmers and ranchers to adjust their operations. We must act now and the New ERA plan offers realistic solutions to curtail our nation's energy crisis."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (ERS) recently released the 2008 Farm Sector Income Forecast. While the forecasts for net farm income are favorable, estimates on production expenses are staggering. For 2008, ERS is forecasting that production expenses will rise by $40.4 billion from the 2007 levels and reach a nominal record-high of $294.8 billion. For example, according to the Washington County Extension Service in Georgia, from 2006 to 2008 the per ton price for Standard 5-10-15 fertilizer increased from $268 to $420 and the per ton price of 30 percent nitrogen increased from $278 to $470.
"Family farms are the backbone of this great country," said Sen. Chambliss. "Our family farmers work tirelessly to produce the safest, most abundant and most affordable food and fiber in the world. However, rising energy costs are severely impacting production costs and that is something American families cannot afford. I urge my colleagues to support our energy plan that will move us in the direction to make certain the next generation of farmers will not have to endure the energy issues we are facing today."
The comprehensive New ERA plan calls for a focused effort to transition the nation's motor vehicle fleets to fuels other than gasoline and diesel. To ease gas prices in the interim, the proposal includes significant conservation provisions, consumer tax credits, and responsible measures to increase domestic production.