Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Tuesday 01/28/14

Farm Bureau, NFU Presidents Respond to SOTU Speech

American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman responded to the State of the Union speech on Tuesday by praising the president's push to pass immigration reform.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomes President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address for Congress to pass immigration reform. Many farmers rely on an immigrant labor force, and, without reform, growers will begin to plant less labor-intensive crops or go off shore. Farm Bureau is urging Congress to pass an agriculture labor program with both short- and long-term stability. It’s a way to keep our experienced workforce, while making sure we have access to a legal workforce through a streamlined and flexible guest worker program in the future. Simply put, either we import our labor or we import our food.

Stallman added, “Tax reform is a priority for farmers and ranchers and we welcome the president’s comments on this important issue. We believe that any tax reform proposal considered by Congress must be comprehensive. It is critical that it include individual, as well as corporate tax reform. More than 96% of farms and 75% of farm sales are taxed under IRS provisions which affect individual taxpayers. Any tax reform proposal that fails to include the individual tax code will not help but would likely hurt our nation’s farmers and ranchers. These farmers could lose their business deductions, yet they would not benefit from lower corporate rates if only corporate taxes are revised.

“Expanded trade opportunities are vital to America’s farmers and ranchers, and we support the president’s call for Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority. TPA is the catalyst needed to advance U.S. proposals to reduce tariffs and improve market access for farmers and ranchers in trade negotiations. The U.S. market is one of the most open in the world, yet our farmers and ranchers face high tariffs and other noncompetitive practices when they try to export their products. For U.S. agriculture to thrive, we have to correct these disparities and level the playing field.

“To take full advantage of expanded trade opportunities, however, we must upgrade our waterways transportation infrastructure and ports. We appreciate President Obama’s charge to Congress to pass a waterways transportation bill this year.”

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson praised President Obama's emphasis on renewable energy, but also asked the president to rethink the country's approach to trade talks. Johnson also discussed the need for immigration reform.

“NFU is encouraged by the president’s commitment to our country’s energy future. Passage of the farm bill conference report, with an investment of $900 million in renewable energy, will take the initial step toward reaching the president’s goal. As the president said, ‘climate change is a fact,’ and America’s farmers and ranchers are positioned to be a part of the solution.

“The president placed emphasis on bringing jobs home to America, and ‘Made in the USA’ goods. Family farmers and ranchers, too, are proud of the fruits of their labor, which is why we stand up for consumers by supporting Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL).

“Fair trade is important to family farmers, ranchers and rural communities, and I hope the president changes the United States’ approach to negotiating trade deals. We must deal with systemic issues, such as currency manipulation, and net a strategic goal of reducing our enormous trade deficits, which directly harm U.S. economic growth and kill too many American jobs.

Johnson added, “Immigration reform is critical to farmers and ranchers across the country. I hope Congress takes the president’s sentiments to heart and makes comprehensive immigration reform its next priority. This ought to be a priority for liberals, moderates and conservatives alike, as it will reduce the deficit by $1 trillion dollars in two decades.

“The president’s message tonight is that we are ‘ready for a year of action,’ and passing the farm bill would be a great start. NFU will continue to work with the administration and Congress to ensure that the next farm bill is passed and effectively implemented."

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Posted at 11:27PM CST 01/28/14 by Chris Clayton
Comments (11)
What Farm Bureau praising Obama? What happened to their fear of Sharia law and socialism???? Have they turned off Rush Limbo and hate radio? I can't believe they finally said something that makes sense and not based on fear mongering!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 5:05AM CST 01/29/14
Stallman knows that government farm programs that direct billions in financial enhancements to the largest farmers have destroyed smaller farmers by rendering them unable to compete. Small farmers' sons have been a major source of labor for larger farms for decades. Government destroying this resource has made US farmers very dependent on foreign labor for massive farm operations. Furthermore massive government welfare benefits have destroyed any interest for many Americans to work on American farms.
Posted by W Kuster at 7:17AM CST 01/29/14
Its show time Jay - most of us get that. The words of a habitual liar are not to be taken to the bank!
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:23AM CST 01/29/14
Looks like you missed this article Jay -
Posted by W Kuster at 1:44PM CST 01/29/14
If only we could spread all the B. S. on our fields, we would be organic. Might be modified, depending upon the motive of the group garnering the attention at the given time.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:21PM CST 01/29/14
I cannot understand why we farmers don't see what crop insurance is doing to our markets. Why would we want to flood an already flooded market? Revenue insurance guarentees so much per acre so we plant those acres! The following year the price of corn is less so the guarenteed price is less and so on. All the while flooding more and more corn on the market.If a crop is not profitable to plant without subsidies don't plant it.Crop insurance is the end users best friend.I think insurance has a place in covering inputs alone.But it should not be used to control what we plant or how much, goverment wants us to.Or to pay guys for damaged corn only to have no damage discounts when the corn was delivered.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 8:41PM CST 01/29/14
The American Farm Bureau has become rural America's Chamber of Commerce, and I don't mean that to be flattering to Stallman and the boys. I try to post comments on their website, but they are always moderated into oblivion. Seems like Truth to Power, from three decade members of their organization mean nothing to the sellouts at the top. The bald-faced truth of the matter is that we have rural towns loaded to the brim with immigrants who aren't working, because the big intensive labor users only want to hire the newly minted FIRST generation immigrant, who is more tolerant and subservient to their wishes and needs, leaving a large percentage of the offspring of these loyal workers as throwaways, dependent on taxpayer largesse for their lifetimes, only because they understand English and may question authority a little bit. The average American taxpayer is sick of this never-ending call for more and more cheap, easily malleable labor. Something is lacking in management practices of the companies who can't seem to get or keep enough help to carry on their business. It is time to figure out other ways to approach this problem, or those of us in agriculture are going to be answering to our fellow citizens for the drain on social programs and other consequences that a few of our peers insatiable thirst for new labor is causing. Logic tells us this has to eventually stop.
Posted by TX Tumbleweed at 11:32PM CST 01/29/14
Government crop insurance does not work because pathetic politicians every attempting to be relevant will always be pandering for more votes by offering greater and greater per acre income guarantees. Greater and greater government dependency is the result of selecting as leaders those whose minds have been impaired by drug use.
Posted by W Kuster at 7:13AM CST 01/30/14
Good Grief W. Where in the SOTU did crop insurance enter?
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 3:02PM CST 01/30/14
Never said it did Bonnie clueless. I was simply commenting in reference to previous comment by R Simpkins.
Posted by W Kuster at 3:43PM CST 01/30/14
Call me clueless if you like. Just trying to politely remind you of the conditions asked of us by DTN when contributing comments. But then, when some are on an agenda, consideration is not attainable.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:36AM CST 01/31/14
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