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For Immediate Release

Farm Bureau questions President’s budget changes


Concern is weakening of rural communities

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Farm Bureau is questioning some of President Obama’s recent proposed budget changes. That proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2011 includes substantial cuts to farm programs, including a 25-percent cut to direct payments and an AGI reduction of 50 percent. The proposal would also reopen the 2008 farm bill that passed after lengthy negotiation just last year.

“We recognize the need to be fiscally responsible and control our federal deficit, but these cuts in the farm and conservation programs won’t accomplish that,” said Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach. “That money won’t be saved. It simply will shift to other USDA programs.

“Agriculture is the engine that drives the economy of rural America,” Veach continued. “When you divert money from those programs that support agriculture, you are essentially weakening those rural communities that depend on the industry.”

Congressional leadership expressed the same concerns.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who helped write the farm bill and chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, issued this statement following the release of the president’s budget proposal.

“In 2008 I worked hard to pass a five-year farm bill that was fiscally responsible. The bill contained more than $4 billion worth of cuts to farm programs, was completely paid for and did not contribute to the deficit. The Farm Bill is our contract with our farmers that they depend on to make business decisions. Changing the rules in the middle of the game would be detrimental to their operations and would cost us even more jobs in rural America.

“I thank the President for his recommendations but Congress writes the budget. I intend to support measures to reduce the deficit but fight many of the President’s proposed cuts that will harm farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 220,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

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For more information contact:

Steve Eddington
steve.eddington@arfb.com
(501) 228-1383
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

or

Gregg Patterson
gregg.patterson@arfb.com
(501) 228-1282
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

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