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Public Statements

Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CRAWFORD. Mr. Chairman, I respectfully oppose the gentleman's amendment.

In order for farmers in my district to compete, their operations must be economies of scale. This is largely due to the high cost of production, expensive machinery, and razor-thin margins.

In order to remain economically viable, a mid-South farmer must produce a high quantity of crops and then sell that crop at an adequate price, which doesn't always work out so well. Some years in Arkansas a farmer might do very well if conditions are right and the prices don't drop too low, but in other years times can be absolutely brutal. This amendment takes the wrong approach because it adds even more uncertainty to the farmer's operation.

Most farmers go to the bank for loans to pay production costs and purchases of new technology and machinery. Once you introduce a restrictive AGI, it becomes much more difficult to obtain the financing necessary to sustain an operation and stay in business.

Through a careful approach, the Ag Committee has already brought significant reforms to AGI eligibility, which has already been difficult on some of my producers. We certainly don't need to go a step further.

Additionally, requiring active, on-farm labor is counterproductive for two reasons: one, it discourages farms from improving and becoming more efficient; and, two, it discourages the participation of young farmers, and that could mean that they're out of a job. Farm owners and operators need to focus their attention on the management of the overall farm and key management decisions.

I strongly urge defeat of this amendment, with all due respect.

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