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Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding President Obama’s Speech to Joint Session of Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 25, 2009 – "America's farm and ranch families believe strong economic policies that lead to a productive and prosperous agricultural economy will help fuel a turnaround for the entire nation. Aspects of the stimulus measure President Obama recently signed into law offer vital economic support in the areas of rural development, rural transportation infrastructure and renewable fuelsthree keys to a rural recovery. We look forward to working with President Obama on ways Rural America can help spur our nation's economic recovery.

"While the new actions to stimulate the economy are important, we cannot overstate the vital role our farm program plays in maintaining an economic safety net for farmers as they provide food security and strive to produce renewable energy for our nation.

"The recently reformed farm bill substantially reduced commodity spending and tightened eligibility criteria for farmers. This is yet another clear sign that farmers are willing to do their share to help reduce the deficit, but we should not be singled out by any proposal. At this point, even deeper cuts in agricultural supports would have drastic impacts at the farm level and would certainly curtail much-needed economic activity without yielding deficit reduction of any significant degree.

"We encourage the president to work toward additional market opportunities for farmers and ranchers through trade, to help us secure legal sources of labor for our farms and ranches and help us close the gap that exists in many aspects of rural healthcare."

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Contacts: Tracy Taylor Grondine
(202) 406-3642
tracyg@fb.org
Mace Thornton
(202) 406-3641
macet@fb.org