MADISON – The president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation says his organization supports passage of the 2007 farm bill by the U.S. Congress this week.
“There are several provisions in the bill that will be helpful to Wisconsin’s agriculture industry,” said Bill Bruins, a dairy farmer from Waupun who leads the state’s largest farm organization.
Bruins lists the positives in the proposed farm bill as increased funding for conservation programs on working farmland, allowing state-inspected meat processing plants to ship product across state lines, improved financing for beginning farmers and rural development initiatives, support for trade programs to increase and expand agricultural exports, and an increased commitment to renewable energy sources such as the emerging cellulosic ethanol market.
“Wisconsin producers will also benefit from a new emphasis placed on the specialty crop market and a continuation and update of the Milk Income Loss Contract program,” he said.
“The proposed farm bill is a complex document with a number of positives as well as some missed opportunities for reform,” said Bruins. “So while it is hardly perfect, it is a step in the right direction.”
“The farm bill is 8 months overdue and this delay has already impeded planting, marketing and financing decisions by farmers,” said Bruins. “Extending the 2002 farm bill for another one to two years only puts off tough decisions to a different Congress and president on a different day. An extension of current law is not the type of progress that was sought by the Farm Bureau’s farm bill task force.”
“Overall, the bill that Congress will vote on is a step in the right direction and sets the course for future farm bill deliberations,” he added.
You can read the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s farm bill task force proposals at www.wfbf.com/farm_bill/default.aspx