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Public Statements

Farm Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HUELSKAMP. Mr. Speaker, as I have traveled across the First District of Kansas to host more than 70 in-person town hall meetings during my first 10 months here in Congress, constituents have reaffirmed our shared belief that Washington cannot be everything to everybody and nor should it be. They have told me they can and want to do more with less. They know that the more Washington spends today, the more their children and grandchildren will have to pay back in the future, and likely to a foreign nation.

And while they scale back their expectations, they want Washington to scale back what it asks them to do. The ever-tightening grip and imposition of the Federal bureaucracy's expensive, counterproductive, and unnecessary burdens are killing America's agriculture industry. Today, I will introduce the FARM Act of 2011--Freeing Agriculture to Reap More Act. I am unveiling it today in light of the pending ag discussions we hear are occurring in the supercommittee.

The FARM Act reflects the conversations I have had with constituents and farm groups all across the First District and addresses their concerns about the economic impacts of overregulation. In essence, the FARM Act adds a regulatory title to the farm bill. Given the consequences of overregulation, it merits its own title amid others like trade, research, conservation, or farm credit.

Farmers and ranchers arguably pay some of the largest costs for Washington's crushing burden of overregulation. Whether it is on youth involvement on family farms, pesticide application permits, greenhouse gases, farm dust, farm commercial vehicles, fuel hauling limitations for farm equipment, or livestock emissions taxes, the Federal Government continues to insist that it control the intricate, day-to-day affairs of America's agriculture community. The FARM Act prohibits this regulatory overreach.

Kansas' family farms do not need Washington writing detailed instruction manuals for them on how much fuel they can or cannot put in their tractors. They do not need Washington prohibiting them from teaching their own children the value and importance of hard work by allowing them to work a few hours on the farm. And they most certainly do not need Washington imposing taxes on them for supposed greenhouse gases emitted by their livestock. No, they need Washington to let them run their operations in the safe and responsible, yet productive, ways they have done for generations. The FARM Act allows our family farms to continue the family tradition without fear of expensive and unnecessary regulations.

Like the families that live and the farms that operate in rural America, small towns in the First District of Kansas also have no need for additional instruction from Washington. That is why the FARM Act prohibits funding for the newly established White House Rural Council. Rural communities are the embodiment of family and entrepreneurial freedom, and this council seeks to replace that freedom with centralized planning schemes. We simply cannot afford more of the President's failed approaches.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the FARM Act of 2011. It's time to stop the overregulation of America's farmers, ranchers, ag communities, and rural America. It's time to put an end to Washington's distrust of America's growers, ranchers, and producers, as well as all of rural America.

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