The U.S. agricultural economy continues to return prices to farmers, at or below their costs to produce America's corn, soybeans and wheat, and the National Farmers Organization released its recommendations to bolster low-price trends.
"National Farmers believes Congress should review the Farm Bill as soon as possible, because low commodity prices have further fueled the deterioration of rural communities, businesses and infrastructure," said Linda Reineke, national grain director for National Farmers. "Low commodity values have also contributed to declining real equity and financial resources of farm operators."
Because Freedom to Farm has not adequately improved world consumption of corn, soybeans and wheat enough to raise domestic price levels, National Farmers recommends action in three areas:
--Reinstate the non-recourse Commodity Credit Loans.
--Increase commodity loan values to reflect current production costs.
--Reinstate the Farmer-Owned Reserve.
"By reinstating the non-recourse Commodity Credit Loans, prices would improve due to increased demand returning to the market, and farmers' loan deficiency payments would not be needed," noted Reineke. "And by reinstating the Farmer-Owned Reserve, we will protect our nation's food supply and bolster commodity prices at the same time."
In the mid-90s, Freedom to Farm proponents claimed lower prices would make U.S. products competitive in world markets, thereby improving exports and farm prices at the same time. Increased production would be offset by increased usage. Although farm bill proponents' intentions were good, the legislation hasn't had the anticipated effect on markets. USDA data indicates that prices farmers received for their grains were higher before Freedom to Farm, and exports were strong.
"Freedom to Farm has cost taxpayers billions in farm payouts, and the organization believes those dollars should come from the marketplace, and not taxpayers," Reineke emphasized. "The responsible action of Congress and the new administration is to reconsider farm program legislation as soon as possible."