US - Bolstered by the US's National Farmers Union (NFU) and Farm Aid, 275 family farmers are uniting this week at the US Capitol to ask for emergency assistance and increased funding to address the harsh economic realities brought on by historically low prices and too high production costs.
Both organisations caution that America’s farmers and ranchers can’t afford to wait until after the November elections for relief. They are asking Congress for emergency assistance for the hardest hit farmers and ranchers, increased funding for farm loan programmes and resources to provide short-term remedies for low commodity prices, to be included in the upcoming Congressional spending package for 2017.
“Low commodity prices and high input costs have been relentless, and 2014 Farm Bill safety net programmes have failed to deliver the relief needed for farmers and ranchers to recover. Many of the families who produce food for America are in danger of losing everything. The time for Congress to act is now,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.
Net farm income for 2016 is forecasted to be 42 per cent lower than it was in 2013, yet farm production expenditures were reported 4 per cent higher last year compared to the same time period.
“Every week, we hear from family farmers facing these challenges on their farms. This is becoming the new normal for many farmers and ranchers across the country,” said Carolyn Mugar, Farm Aid’s Executive Director. “Farmers certainly need emergency assistance, but we have to move beyond that to a more permanent, sustainable solution.”
NFU and Farm Aid urged Congress to begin work on the next Farm Bill to provide a stronger safety net that protects family farmers and ranchers through long-term financial downturns.
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