National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement after the NFU Board of Directors, acting in its capacity as the organization's Legislative Committee, voted unanimously to maintain its long-time position on keeping farm programs and nutrition assistance as a single, comprehensive farm bill:
"Splitting farm programs and nutrition assistance into two separate bills is a disservice to farmers, ranchers, rural residents and consumers.
"The bill needs to remain intact, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture's efforts to provide safety net programs for both farmers and consumers facing hard times should not be pulled in opposite directions. Farmers produce the food upon which consumers across the country, including those in need of some assistance, rely. It stands to reason to have one unified piece of legislation that can garner support from members of Congress from rural and urban districts alike to deal with these related issues.
"A mechanism must remain in place to ensure that Congress checks back periodically to see that agriculture and food systems are operating as they ought to, in order to serve the American people. Maintaining the existing permanent law provision provides an incentive for Congress to be engaged in agricultural policy.
"These are long-standing positions of Farmers Union members. We encourage all members of Congress to pass a bipartisan, all-encompassing bill as it has been in the past and must be in the future."
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.