Today, a diverse coalition of taxpayer, farm, rural, and environmental advocacy groups held a press conference at the National Press Club urging Congressional leaders to reject attempts to increase reference prices for covered commodity crops in 2023 Farm Bill debates. The organizations participating in the press conference included Farm Action, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), Environmental Working Group (EWG), Rural Coalition, FreedomWorks, National Taxpayers Union, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and R-Street.
Joe Van Wye, policy and outreach director at Farm Action, said, “[w]e at Farm Action strongly urge Congress to reject proposals to increase reference prices as a misguided solution to the current economic situation plaguing family farmers. While we support efforts to improve and strengthen farm safety programs for all farmers, we cannot support increases in PLC reference prices that will ultimately be captured by just a few large corporations. Instead, we call on Congress to address the real issue at hand here: unprecedented monopoly power in agriculture input markets.”
Billy Hackett, policy specialist at National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, said, “[t]he National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition stands with this alliance to oppose raising Price Loss Coverage reference prices in the 2023 Farm Bill, at a time when gross farm income is higher than ever. Taxpayer commodity program subsidies were designed as a safety net tool, triggered when necessary, to help protect against unpredictable losses that are part of farming — not an annual entitlement program for the country’s most successful farms.”
Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs at EWG, said that “[w]e need a farm safety net, and some farmers are struggling. But increasing the price guarantees in the Farm Bill will not help struggling farmers…These subsidies overwhelmingly flow to the largest and most successful farmers who — according to USDA — are enjoying farm household income of more than $1 million a year.”
“Title 1 subsidy programs haven’t paid out [in recent years] because farmers have made money in the market. Their bottom lines show it,” said Josh Sewell, senior policy analyst at Taxpayers for Common Sense. “The push to increase government mandated prices for a small number of crops handpicked by the farm bill writers would be laughable if it weren’t unconscionable. $32 trillion in debt. Potentially days from default. Yet some lawmakers, demanding austerity from everyone else, are looking to dig deeper into our pockets to replace markets with mandates for a few special interests. It’s not fiscally responsible.”
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