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Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding 2012 Budget Proposal by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 6, 2011 – “America’s farmers and ranchers are willing to do their part to help balance our nation’s budget and cut our crippling federal deficit. Farm Bureau applauds efforts to put our nation back on a path toward a more responsible federal budget, but we are concerned about cuts that might impact the safety net that supports our farmers. It must be pointed out that even before any cuts, farm program expenditures have been falling for years.

“It is vital that decisions to cut farm program spending be made with a recognition of the cyclical nature of our farm economy and its ties to a global economy that can be even more volatile. The cost of our safety net varies by market condition. For example, even before any proposed cuts, projections indicate a downward trend in farm program spending in the 2011 fiscal year. Expenditures will be down by about 13 percent compared to the 2010 fiscal year. That is a clear sign our farm bill works as intended and costs less when commodity prices are higher.

“We know the importance of a fiscally responsible federal government because we follow fiscally sound principles each and every day on our farms and ranches. We can all agree that something must be done to address our country’s deficit. We know that cuts must be made and we ask that they be made with a fair hand and a focus on the long-term, big picture facing American agriculture.

“We recognize it is early in the process and all that has happened so far is a budget target suggested by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Chairman Ryan is to be commended for understanding where we are in the farm bill cycle and for giving the House and Senate Agriculture committees the flexibility to hold off on program changes until the next farm bill is crafted.  We will work closely with those committees as this effort moves forward.”

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