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Peterson takes stand against farm bill extension; National Corn Growers, NSAC agree

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., speaking in response to the House decision to take up a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill, said he has not received assurances the move will lead to a new five-year bill, while the National Corn Growers Association and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition added their voices to those opposing an extension.

“Congress should not be playing politics with the rural economy, one of our nation’s economic bright spots,” Peterson said.

“I am against an extension and will remain opposed until I receive assurances that this is the path to conference a five-year farm bill with the Senate,” he said. “Farmers need the certainty of a five-year farm bill.”

National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer sounded a similar theme.

“America’s farmers need a new farm bill that will allow them the ability to make sound business decisions for the next five years. An extension of current law fails to provide the needed level of certainty,” Niemeyer said in a statement. “The National Corn Growers Association has strongly advocated programs, such as direct payments, be reformed into more efficient farm policy that will be responsive to taxpayers.”

“It is important to get to conference and pass a bill before the current law expires September 30,” Niemeyer said. “Continuing outdated farm policies will negatively impact agriculture, the federal budget, consumers and the economy.”

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition took a strong stance.

“NSAC vehemently opposes the dirty extension bill filed today by House majority leadership,” the group said in a statement. “Passage of this bill would ensure there is no action this year on the 2012 farm bill.”

The group listed reasons the extension bill should be voted down.

“It prevents agricultural reform from happening. It spends another $5 billion on direct payments that both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees agreed to terminate. It kills innovative job-creating programs. It proposes to slash farm conservation spending by three-quarters of a billion dollars at a time when pressure on the natural resource base is intense, which would serve only to make the magnitude and cost of future disasters even higher. Under a closed rule, it denies representatives the ability to amend the bill on the floor.

“In our view the choice for Representatives next week is clear — vote down this dirty extension bill and demand a clean vote on disaster assistance for livestock and specialty crop growers.”