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At National Farmers Convention '09, members approve ag policy positions

National Farmers Organization members announced several ag policy positions today at its annual farm business convention in Coralville, Iowa.

A proposal to help America's hungry, and stimulate the farm economy, calls for funds originally earmarked for payments to millionaire farms, be used instead for the purchase of grain, meat and dairy products to help America's less fortunate. President-elect Barack Obama has said he would like to cap farm program payments to individual producers at $250,000 annually.

National Farmers also recommends increasing commodity loan rates to levels closer to each commodity's production costs. That would provide lenders with more security to extend credit to producers for the next year.

The organization also called for a dairy farm stimulus fund, established to increase milk income loss payments for dairy producers. "In February, producers can expect to receive $12.50 to $13.00, once the current MILC payment is factored in," said National Farmers Dairy Division Director Brad Rach. "We believe our farm stimulus proposal could be used to bolster MILC payments that would not only directly help dairy farmers but stimulate the ag economy," Rach said.

National Farmers members also support the following:

--Doubling funds available to the Farm Service Agency for direct and guaranteed farm operating loans and make the funds transferable depending on demand.

--Implementing country-of-origin labeling fully, with enforcement. We support the extension of mandatory COOL to include dairy products.

--Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment Act, which mandates trade pact reviews, established and uniform standards, protection of workers in developing nations and restoration of congressional oversight on future agreements.

--Legislation that will add transparency to futures markets and closes the door to excessive speculation by tightening key investment laws and clarifying the oversight mission of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

--Eliminating organic grower discrimination for crop insurance. Currently, organic crops producers are required to pay a 5 percent higher premium than their conventional counterparts. But, organic claims are only paid at the conventional rate.

National Farmers is a price negotiation and risk management organization for the nation's farmers and ranchers.



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